tv U.S. Senate CSPAN November 3, 2011 12:00pm-5:00pm EDT
consent to dispense with the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. brown: i have four unanimous consent requests for committees to meet during today's session. they have the approval of the majority and minority leaders. i ask consent that these requests be agreed to and be printed in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. brown: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, we know that investments in our infrastructure mean jobs and economic development, now and in the future. we know as a country that in the 1950's and 1960's and 1970's and 1980's, we built highways and bridges, sewer, modernizing high schools, all the things we did in the post-war years for five
decades -- in the 1940's, 19 sighs, 1--19 50's, 19 60's. wheeling and across to bellmont county in ohio. we know that the infrastructure of building community colleges like jeff tec and billing branch campuses at o.u. and now building broadband but then building -- doing -- funding medical care. all of those things created long-term prosperity for the country. all of these things benefit our nation, our small businesses, our twoarks for generations. history tells us that our
nation's infrastructure has been critical to our nation's economic competitive and industrial strength. look back a knew years. abraham lincoln created the transcontinental railroad. thousands of jobs were created. development of the west was paid possible. president roosevelt modernized our nation's electric grid during the new deal, more than just electricity came to the tennessee valley and rural america. americans were put to work, setting the poles, setting the wire, building the high descroa electric dams that attracted business to the region. so the infrastructure was built creating jobs, but even more so the jobs -- the foundation was set where many, many, many more jobs were created. president ic eisenhower and the congress established our interstate transportation system. a generation of workers carved out our highways and our roadways, allowing commerce and people to travel from coast to coast. our nation used this post-war infrastructure boom to become the economic superpower that we
are today. public work investments, as i said, not only create good-paying, middle-class construction jobs, they spur economic development projects in small towns and rural communities and urban areas. we all know what happens when a highway comes into a community what it does to spawn other kinds of work. stherve as multiplier effects that attract workers and businesses and foreign companies to build in america and benefit from that clear, competitive advantage. that's why we love the world for -- that's why we led the world for five decades. it is clear when companies decide where to work or expand or investment, that infrastructure, broadband, energy, transportation, all are critical factors of the decision. businesses rely on solid infrastructure. companies like ohio's procter and gamble in cincinnati recognize our infrastructure provides a competitive advantage, enabling them to ship their products anywhere in the world. ohio manufacturers like general motors and honda and smucker's rely upon our infrastructure as they operate with just-in-time manufacturing and inventory. yet we're falling behind in
maintaining that infrastructure that made us a superpower. unsafe bridges cost lives, clogged roads and congested airspace cost billions of dollars in lost trade and productivity. more folks spend more time commuting than they spend at home with their family. we're seeing a 19th century water and sewer -- a bunch of 19th century water and sewer systems failing our 21st century cities. more and more people, meanwhile, depend on these services while cities and states can't meet demands. states face budget problems that make these investments difficult and in some cases delay it indefinitely. then there's china who is fast becoming one of our chief economic competitors building more roads, better airports, faster railroads and faster rail systems than we are. why do w -- why do we let that happen? no one in this congress should be proud of the condition of our roads. no one in this congress should be proud of the fact that the
world's newest airports and train stations are being built somewhere far from our shores. there remains an unwillingness here, though, mr. president -- i'm still incredulous. there's a fundamental unwillingness here to make the sort of investments necessary to improve our nation's infrastructure. i guess we've got to cut taxes more for rich people instead of asking them to pay more and put that money into infrastructure. historically infrastructure has been bipartisan. i've heard my colleagues say there is no such thing as a democrat or republican bridge. it seems like there is now because we see time and time again some of my more conservative colleagues saying we're not going to spend money on infrastructure. we're not going to do that. let me show you a bridge where i've been many times, driven across it, seen it from cincinnati. this is from the kentucky side. this is called the brent spence
bridge, named after a congressman in the early 1960's. this was inaugurated i believe by president kennedy -- president johnson. i'm sorry. president johnson. the bridge construction began and came later. this is i-75 through cincinnati going from kentucky to cincinnati into dayton, if you can follow it will all the way north. and then into toledo and ultimately into detroit. this bridge carries millions of dollars worth of freight and millions of drivers across the bridge. someone said this bridge accounts for perhaps as much as 4% of our gross domestic product going north or south across our bridge. today the brent spence bridge
has been deemed functional obsolete. there is no way -- nowhere to go if a car breaks down. this is a major, major, major bridge across one of the most important rivers in our country, the ohio river. a recent study of our country's infrastructure found there are more structurally deficient bridges in the united states than there are mcdonald's restaurants. think about that. there are 14,000 mcdonald's restaurants, but according to transportation for america, there are 18,000 deficient bridges and 70,000 structurally deficient bridges. for public safety and a commerce perspective, fixing a bridge is a necessity. the largest hurdle remains financing. on the president's proposal we'll be voting on this afternoon more than $60 billion completely paid for would go toward road and bridge construction. it would make roads and skies
safe for transportation. includes a national infrastructure bank that would fund infrastructure projects of regional or national significance like this 50-year-old, almost 50-year-old bridge. it would mean ohio and kentucky could obtain -- it would mean that increasing private-sector infrastructure, lending the national infrastructure bank could couple federal loans with private equity ensuring a partnership of public and private sector that meets local needs. nor the brent spence bridge it could mean ohio and kentucky would get the funding to complete it ahead of schedule. mr. president, we've got to do this. we've got to renovate and update our infrastructure. why wait? interest rates are as low as they've almost ever been. so construction costs, because there's so much competition among construction companies to get work now, are as low in historical times perhaps as they've ever been.
and we need this work now because of the unemployment situation. and we will benefit from replacing, fixing this bridge for years into the few taoufrplt for freight -- future. for columbus, it would mean reducing bottle necks. for airports, reducing congestion on our runways. in lake erie, the other end of my state, lake erie, the lake that made such a difference in the settlement of buffalo, although it's also lake ontario there, buffalo, cleveland, ashtabula and toledo, we know what these great lakes have done for economic development of our country. it means fixing our ports. for all of our states it means jobs, economic development. for construction equipment manufacturer pea kwroer are a, it's about dock workers loading american-made steel. in ohio-grown soybeans for
exports to markets around the world. that's what this bill is about. it's about jobs now. about setting the table for jobs in the future. we know that. republicans and democrats alike know that. yet, republicans, i guess because they want to see barack obama fail -- that's what the republican leader has said repeatedly. i don't understand that but that's what he says. and the bill's fully paid for. the bill before the senate is funded by a very small tax on people making over $1 million a year. if you make $1 million a year, your taxes won't go up. the second million, you'll pay a little bit of money on the second million you'll make. this isn't in any way going after small business. this is just saying to the people who have done well, you've got to pay a little more money. it's common sense, it's the american way. we ask those who have benefited most in our nation, many on wall street, many on main street, but people who have done very, very well, we ask them to make this investment. we know it's infrastructure that has helped people make lots of money in this country. without infrastructure, many of
these companies never would have been successful. world-class infrastructure is how we move goods across the country and export around the world on our trucks, our rails, our barges and our airplanes. it's how we get to work and school. it's how we attract businesses. it's how we protect the public health through clean water and sewer systems. mr. president, this will create jobs immediately. good-paying middle-class jobs. these jobs provide workers with health care and retirement, exactly the kind of jobs that you welcome in wheeling and charleston and beckley and i welcome in portsmouth and cleveland and akron. these jobs provide for people to buy a home and save for education. these jobs not only put money in their pockets that stph*epbld in the community -- spend in the community, they create manufacturing jobs in steel, cement and all kinds of materials. they create long-term jobs as companies grow because they have better infrastructure. this is about rebuilding our infrastructure. it's about rebuilding our middle
class. i ask my colleagues to support this legislation later today when we vote on it. mr. president, i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from arizona. mr. mccain: mr. president, i'd like to speak about an issue that i and most americans i believe find extremely krublg and one that -- troubling and one that i've been seek to have properly addressed for many years now. mainly the outright corruption and blatant abuse of the american taxpayer that's been taking place at the hands of fannie mae and freddie mac for decades. since they were placed in
conservatorship in 2008, the two government-sponsored enterprises, g.s.e.'s, i.e., supported by the t-pbs, have -- by the taxpayers have soaked the american taxpayers for tpr* bailouts. this morning it is reported freddie mac is requesting an additional $6 billion to continue their so far, in my view, failed efforts. i quote from the associated press government-controlled mortgage giant freddie mac requested $6 billion in additional aid after posting a wider loss in the third quarter. tprepld said -- freddie mac said it costs $6 billion in the july-september quarter. that compares with a loss of $4 billion in the same quarter of 2010. the government rescued mcclean
virginia-based tprepld and fannie mae in september 2008 after massive losses on risky mortgages threatened to topple then. since then a regulator controlled their financial decisions. taxpayers spent $169 billion to rescue fannie and freddie, the most expensive bailout of the 2008 financial crisis. the government estimates it will cost at least $51 billion more, at least $51 billion more to support the companies through 2014 and as much as $142 billion in the most ex-team case. -- extreme case. freddie and fannie own home loans worth more than $5 trillion along with other federal agencies, they back nearly 90% of new mortgages over the past year. two mortgage giants buy home
loans from banks and other lenders and package them into bonds, et cetera. so here we are. they've lost $140 billion -- no, we spent $169 billion. now they're asking for $6 billion more. and so what do we find out? that fannie and freddie now will dole out big bonuses. i am not making this up. the federal housing finance agency, the government regulator for fannie and freddie, approved $12.79 million in bonus pay after ten executives from the two government-sponsored corporations last year met modest peformance targets tied to modifying mortgages in
jeopardy of foreclosure. the executives got the bonuses about two years after the federal giants received nearly $170 billion in taxpayers bailout. and despite pledges by fhfa, the office tasked with keeping this solvent, that it would adjust the level of c.e.o. pay after critics slammed packages paid out to former fannie mae c.e.o. franklin reins and others. these huge bonuses given to mr. johnson and mr. reins and many others was done by cooking the books. not a one of them has been held accountable in any way, shape or form. the securities and exchange commission documents show that ed holderman who announced last week that he's stepping down at freddie mac's c.e.o., received a base salary of $900,000 last
year and yet took home an additional $2.3 million in bonus pay. records show other fannie and freddie executives got similar wall street-style compensation packages. fannie mae c.e.o. michael williams got $2.37 million in peformance bonuses. that's after the taxpayers paid $160 billion. that's why they're on the hook for another $6 billion and god knows how much more. we're giving these individuals $900,000 a year salary, millions of dollars in bonus pay. and who in the world is the federal housing financing agency to award these bonuses? i mean, it's hard -- it's hard. fhfa acting director edward demarco -- and i must add mist i have not heard of mr. demarco --
told congress last year, those at the head of the mortgage companies during the time of collapse were dismissed but said the pay lures qualified executives. whatever happened to asking patriotic americans to come and serve and help homeowners out of this crisis? whatever happened to patriotic americans who would serve and help the nearly half of the homeowners in my state of arizona whose mortgages are under water. marco told lawmakers he's concerned that a federal pay system could put the company in jeopardy of mismanagement. could put the companies in jeopardy of mismanagement and result in another taxpayer bailout. they just asked for $6 billion more. he said the compensation
packages at fannie and freddie are part of the plan to return them to solvency while reducing costs to the taxpayers. a march report by fhfa, obviously ignored by mr. demarco, their inspector general said the agency lacks key controls necessary to monitor executive compensation, nor has it developed written procedures for evaluating these packages. in other words, the beat goes on. business as usual. fannie mae and freddie mac. it's unconscionable. it's been proven time and time again that fannie and freddie are synonymous with outright corruption and fraud and the federal regulator has the audacity to approve $12 million in bonuses to people who make
$900,000 per year. this body should be ashamed if we let this happen, especially in these economic times. every day, more and more americans are losing their job and their homes and we're allowing these people to take home annual salaries of $900,000 and bonuses of millions of dollars, all the while they ask the taxpayers for $6 billion more today. you know, it's come to my attention that some of my colleagues are writing letters, calling for committee hearings on this issue. letters are fine, hearings are fine, hearings are great. they're not the answer. the answer is for us to stop it from happening, and we can do that with an amendment on the pending appropriations bill, and i will be offering that amendment, and i hope all of my colleagues would join in. let me just bring the attention of my -- to the attention of my colleagues a book called
"reckless endangerment." the title is "how outside ambition, tbreed and corruption led to economic armageddon." so we're talking about pay and bonuses. and i read from the book." because bonuses at fannie mae were largely based on earnings growth, it was paramount to keep profits escalating to guarantee bonus payments. in 1998, top fannie officials had begun manipulating the company's profit results by dipping into various profit cookie jars to produce the level of income necessary to generate bonus payments to top management. federal investigators later found that you could predict what fannie's earnings per share would be at year end almost to the penny if you knew the maximum earnings per-share bonus payout target set by the management at the beginning of each year.
between 1998 and 2002, actual earnings and the bonus target differed only by a fraction of a cent, the investigators found. investigators uncovered documents from 1998 detailing the tactics used by leanne spencer, a finance official at fannie, to make the company's company's 2.48 cents per share bonus target. that year, fannie mae earned earned $2.4764 per share. mid november, memo to her superiors, spencer forecast the company was on track to earn $2.4744 per share, just shy of what was needed to generate maximum bonus payments to executives." this story goes on in this book. it goes on and on, how the fannie mae and freddie mac executives intentionally ripped off the american people, describing profits in a way that was totally false, getting tens
of millions in bonuses. this is a government-sponsored enterprise. mr. johnson bailed out with a hundred million dollars or so of taxpayers' bonuses. in 1999, johnson joined goldman 's stepping into opportunities offering enrichment lucrative opportunities with johnson around the world. in 2000, the goldman board paid johnson $50,000, not counting stock awards. with brokage firms like goldman sachs flourished from the fees generated by underwriting securities issued by fannie and freddie with fees totaling totaling $100 million a year. guess who came on fannie's board? mr. johnson. mr. johnson was still on the board in 2010 when the
securities and exchange commission sued the investment bank for securities fraud related to its sale of a dubious mortgage security. by that time, johnson was earning almost $500,000 for his work on the goldman board. the accounting fraud at fannie went undiscovered until 2005 when an investigation by ofheo unearthed it in a voluminous, intensely detailed 2006 report, ofheo noted that if fannie mae had used appropriate accounting methods in 1998, the company's performance would have generated no executive bonuses at all. a lawsuit filed by the securities and exchange commission in 2006 said the company's 1998 results were intentionally manipulated to trigger management bonuses. although a highly kept secret at the time, johnson -- this is mr. james johnson -- johnson's bonus for 1998 was $1.9 million,
investigators determined. it later emerged that the company had made inaccurate disclosures when it said johnson owned a total of almost $7 million in 1998. in actuality, his total compensation that year was like $21 million, ofheo said, referring to an internal fannie mae analysis it had turned up. so one of the great scams in american history is going on, and the people responsible for it have never been held responsible, have never been held responsible. i refer to my colleagues take a look at this book, and i recommend taking blood pressure medicine before you read it. now, here we are, business as usual in washington. the approval rating of congress now down to 9%. as i have said continuously, we're down to paid staffers and
blood relatives. why are they not happy with us? why haven't we solved the housing crisis in america? why is it that half the homes in arizona are still under water, worth less than their mortgage is? while the financial institutions on wall street have -- are doing just fine, with record profits, and fannie and freddie continue to act as if they did nothing wrong. and to add insult to injury, after a third quarter loss of $6 billion, they're going to get millions of dollars in bonuses. mr. president, i may be a bit of an idealist, but i'll bet you that there is some patriotic, talented americans that would be willing to serve on fannie mae and freddie mac without being paid $900,000 a year and millions of dollars in bonuses. i really believe that.
i really believe that. and yes, people are sitting in around the country, and yes i don't agree with a lot of their agenda, but when they read of things like this, they're -- their anger is justified. their anger is -- they have every reason to -- to be justified. already, $1,770,000,000,000 in bailouts. this morning an additional $6 billion. and yet, the american taxpayer is told that they are making progress. and who has been held responsible at these organizations, at these government-sponsored enterprises that were responsible for this. to my knowledge, mr. president, no one. so it seems to me, it seems to me the least we can do is cancel these bonuses, make sure it doesn't happen, and maybe ask for some qualified, experienced, talented americans to come in
and take over this agency, and the first guy that i think ought to go is the guy that approved of these mortgages who i understand is -- i mean that approved of these payouts, mr. edward j. dimarco. mr. president, i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from delaware. mr. coons: mr. president, i couldn't agree more with the senator who just spoke that we are in a situation where the all-time approval rating of this body seems to have reached an all-time low, and there are justified reasons for the frustration, for the anger of a very broad run of our constituents, of the folks who hired us, mr. senator, to come here from our states of west virginia and delaware, from arizona and others, to try and fix the problems confronting this country, and much of the mess, much of the things that got us in this problem have not been solved. but i rise today to speak about
one way forward out of it, and i think one of the reasons why there is so much frustration with congress and the general public is there is broad support for some simple solutions to get americans back to work, to revive and strengthen our economy that we just seem incapable of reaching across this partisan divide and moving forward. one of those is an infrastructure bank. i rise today to follow up on a speech i gave yesterday about why investing in american infrastructure means investing in america's future. infrastructure, building roads and bridges, highways and sewer systems, modernizing america's backbone enjoys very broad support from all across the united states, from all different sectors because americans understand it will put folks back to work, into building trades industries that have taken the hardest hit in this recession, and in a way that will lay the groundwork for our long-term future competitiveness. this is smart spending. this is investing in the best
tradition of federal, state, local, private partnerships to make more competitive for the future. today, i want to talk about one element of the bill, which i hope we will move to later today. the american infrastructure financing authority or known more colloquially as the national infrastructure bank. if this idea sounds familiar, it's because it has already been introduced, it's a bipartisan bill, the build act, championed by senator kerry and senator hutchison, of which i am a cosponsor, and one that provides a creative financing vehicle for building infrastructure going forward. as you know, mr. president, before becoming a senator in the election last year, just a year ago yesterday, i served for six years as the county executive of delaware's largest county, and one of the things our county was responsible for was running a countywide sewer system. we had 1,800 miles of sanitary sewer, and it was a constant challenge to maintain. that's a lot of pipe, a lot of pump stations and a lot of
sewage backing up in people's homes in the middle of the night, which led to a lot of aggravated calls from constituents. it was an aging system. like so much of america's infrastructure, one in which we had underinvested for too long. and from personal experience, i can tell you that the lack of that infrastructure, of adequate sewer capacity, was a major barrier to future growth. so, too, across states and counties and cities all over this country, where the roads and rail, the ports and the sewer systems aren't up to current global standards, we can't expect to grow to meet our global competitors. when we talk about capital infrastructure improvements at the local level in the government i used to be with, it wasn't some wish list, this wasn't some future technology, this wasn't some risky investment. it was triage. it was critically needed investment in pipes in the ground that would protect our water, strengthen our community and grow our economy. as a nation, the american society of civil engineers has told us we need $2.2 trillion over just the next five years in
infrastructure investments to keep america moving forward. we're talking about fixing unsafe bridges, dealing with clogged highways and rebuilding airports so they can handle larger modern aircraft safely. that is an enormous scope, mr. president. $2.2 trillion over just the next five years. we're already asking so much of the super committee in terms of finding dramatic savings, reductions in federal spending. where will this level of investment come from to put america back to work? so in my view, we have to get creative. we have to leverage. we have to bring in more resources than are currently on the field. and especially now, especially in this country, i think we have to be smart about how we spend our funds. the rebuild america jobs act, to which i hope we will be moving later this afternoon, would put $50 billion directly into infrastructure but $10 billion as a down payment into making possible this new infrastructure bank. seed money that makes possible
loans and loan guarantees, not grants, for a wide range of infrastructure projects including energy, water and critically needed transportation. remember, we need more than $400 billion a year in investment right now just to keep up, but we all know the constrained budgets of our county, state and local governments can't get the financing they need. this infrastructure bank would provide the leverage, a vehicle to finance desperately needed projects. just a few things about it. it would be for big projects, projects that cost more than $25 million in rural communities, $100 million in the rest of the country. it would only be allowed to finance up to 50% of a project to avoid crowding out private capital, to make sure that private capital has got skin in the game so it's a viable project. it's my expectation, in fact, that the infrastructure bank would finance a much smaller piece of most projects, just enough to bring private investment to the table. it would be government owned but independently operated, have its own bipartisan board of directors and function much like
the successful exim. an infrastructure bank passed by the senate this week could provide up to $160 billion in direct financial assistance over its first ten years to infrastructure for transportation, and that would be paired with private investment that could double, triple or even quadruple increasing the full impact of this bank. i said yesterday, mr. president, that infrastructure is a smart investment for our country, that a national infrastructure bank as a part of that strategy would provide a vehicle for the private sector to get in on this investment as well and to help us accelerate our move towards the future. this, mr. president, is smart policy sms it is a funny thing about infrastructure, how we inevitably take it for granted, whether you are running a state highway system or a county sewer system, you never know how much people miss it until it isn't working the way they expect. and, unfortunately, in cities, counties, and states a across our country, companies and communities are discovering that our aged infrastructure is imposing costs on us that we
just can't bear. the american society of civil engineers, which i have referred to before, releasel recently red study saying that our transportation infrastructure alone results in the loss of a million jobs and will suppress our g.d.p. growth by nearly $1 trillion between now and 2020. that's an enormous loss of future economic being a tiflt. in my view, we can't put this off any further. we can't keep swerving to avoid these potholes on the path to prosperity. eventually we're going to hit them and eventually they're going to are into be a drag on our nation. the rebuild america's jobs act would fill these potholes, would patch these pipes, would lay the new runways for america's economy to take off. in my view, this rebuild america's jobs act, which would rebuild 125,000 miles of roadway, maintain 4,000 miles of
train track, upgrade runways is nothing short of the smart investment we need to be competitive for the future. it would put people back to work it would steer us on the right road to recovery, and it would fix the problems that lie right in our path as we try to do our job, mr. president, for the folks who hired us to come here and help them get back to work. we need to act today and it is my hope that my completion will join us this afternoon in voting for the motion to proceed to the recover and rebuild america jobs act. a critical piece of which is this smart infrastructure bank. mr. president, i move now briefly to support the nomination of richard anders, who's been nominated to be united states district court judge for the district of delaware. rich andrews is a dedicated public servant and a good man. when the senate confirms his nomination hopefully later today, rich will become the
fourth active judge serving in the district of delaware. this will make the very first time in five years that this very busy court will operate without a vacancy. for a small district like delaware, albeit one with such a competitionized and complex caseload, even a single vacancy places a significant burden on the court. mr. andrews' nomination has been pending 177 days, and while i am grateful for the consent agreement that i hope will allow his nomination to be considered today, i remain concerned that such a noncontroversial and qualified nominee as rich could take nearly half a year to reach floor consideration. the judicial vacancy rate hovers near 10%, there are 31 judicial vacancies and it will my hope that this body will continue to move expeditiously to fill vacancies throughout the country. as a member of the judiciary committee, i had the chance to chair the nominations hearing for rich and to take part in the committee's consideration of his nomination. i have reviewed his record, listened to his testimony, met
with him personally, conferred with my senior senator, senator carper, and as a result of this, i ensure my colleagues, i have every confidence that rich is a qualified judge and will serve delaware and this nation brilliantly. during his service so far he has established himself as a talented and humble public servant who possesses a strong work ethic and highest intellect. after graduating from berkeley law school he came to delaware as a law clerk for the chief judge sites. after completing his clerkship, he spent the next 24 years much much it searvetion the first assistant u.s. attorney and chief of the criminal division. he has tried in that role more than 50 felony jury cases and argued 17 cases before the third circuit court of appeals. since leaving the u.s. attorneys' office in 2007, he has served as state prosecutor
for the delaware department of expwruft and leads and is overseeing tens of thousands of prosecutions each year. i am confident then, mr. president, that his experience as a prosecutor has given him the knowledge, skills, and temperament to serve on the district of delaware federal bench. when i chaired his nominations hearing, i was impressed at his professionalism, his intelligence, and his demeanor. rich enjoys broad, bipartisan support, having been reported unanimously by the senate judiciary committee. so i urge all of my committees to join me and senator carper in supporting mr. andrews so he will have the opportunity to continue his selfless service to the people of our state and our nation. with that, mr. president, i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from florida. mr. rubio: i ask unanimous consent that i be recognized to speak in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. rubio: i also ask unanimous consent that the senator from rhode island be recognized immediately after me.
the presiding officer: without objection. mr. rubio: mr. president, i wanted to come to the floor to introduce an issue that i've become interested in the last few months, one that i didn't quite a lot about before i came to the united states senate, it is the issue of human trafficking and slavery. for many of us in the 21st century, we think of slavery as a concept that happened in other places and a long time ago when in fact it exists even today around the world. and the issue is pretty startling. the state department estimates that there's between 700,000 and 800,000 people in the world that are trafficked. the number of people trafficked in the united states is about 16,000 to 17,000. that's a lot of people in the 21st century that are being trafficked and are held in bondage. and i saw a special on a cable network recently that outlined this issue and then started researchinresearching on it. i was shocked to learn that my home state of florida is particularly affected by this issue. so recently i had the honor and privilege of being appointed to the helsinki commission, the
griewp here in the senate that works along with the house. we held a hearing yesterday on the issue of human trafficking and it is an issue that i'm going to be increasingly speaking about over the next few weeks because i truly believe it's one of the great humanitarian causes of this new century. it begins with awareness, with a clear understanding of what's happening around the world with regards to this issue. the fact that there are these people as we speak, as i sand here today, perhaps within walking distance of this very building, there are people held against their will in servitude. the one that gets all the publicity -- and rightfully so -- is sex trafficking. children and young girls and young women brought into this country and held against their will as sex slaves. it also happens all over the world. it is sad to learn that there are actual governments around the world that cooperate with this and tolerate it and are corrupted by t and that gets a lot of publicity and attention. and we are going to be paying allot of attention to that. we heard stories of diplomats
that work in this city, diplomats from other nations who come here and bring domestic workers with them to their homes and hold them here against their will and take their entire paycheck. and we're going to be denouncing some of these people on this floor by name in the weeks and months to come. about the other thing that was shocking, although as i said, the sex trafficking gets a lot of atenge, is the forced labor aspect of it. people who ar who are recruitedn other countries and brought here and you're going to come here and make a living, be able to send it back home. when they get here, they are healed against their will not paid, in fact sometimes they owe the traffickers money, and they're held in squalid conditions. that's happening right here in this country underneath our very nose. now, not to mention the egregious cases around the world. we are going to focus on those cases around the world as well. the state department ranks every country around the world on how
they're prosecuting and cooperating on these cases. it identifies the countries that are doing well, trying to do well, the countries that quite frankly could care less and actually don't mind this stuff going on in their jurisdiction. they deserve to be condemned not just on this floor but in the international community and we'll talk about that as well in the weeks to come. but i don't think we can point the finger at anyone unless we look at our satisfies a nation, as a society, and call attention to this issue. so as i begin to introduce this issue and my involvement in it, there are couple things i wanted to point out. the first is this is large lay occurring as a result of criminal enterprises, the same people that traffic drugs and are involved in other kind of organized crime are also involved in human traffic. we see that increasingly in major areas and we've seen prosecutions. but we've also learned that increasingly what we're finding are small-scale operations, sometimes families -- we heard the case of a mother and her two
sons who are involved in a human trafficking ring, and it is very profitable, very lucrative. it costs them about $10,000 bring a young woman into this country and they can make that money back in the sex trade within a few days and after that it's all profit. it is outrageous and it's opened the door for small-scale operations that are doing this. what are the impediments to deal with with this issue? there are a few and they are going to traik a long time to work on. the first is a lack of recognition. at the local level and even at the federal level, our law enforcement officers and personnel who want to do the right thing probably need some more information about identifying these cases. seeing the markers of human trafficking, identifying cases that clearly wreak of human trafficking and identifying those and treatin treating themt they are. the second thing we need are better protections for these people. you are not going to be able to prosecute and put people in jail unless the victim is willing to
testify. if the victim feels you are going to deport them or put them in immigration jails or they think that these organized crime rings will harm their families overseas, it is gb to be hard to get victims to cooperate. and last but not least, i know this is a complicated issue, but our immigration system is contributing to this. we have a very complicated immigration system, an expensive one, a burdensome one, and what it's creating is the need for middle men. more often thank not, the middle men, these foreign labor agencies, too many of them, are in fact human traffickers. who are utilizing this system, the legal immigration system, to bring people into this country and once they're here, to hold them against their will. we've got to focus on that because ultimately that has to be solved. our legal immigration system has to be modernized. if it isn't, if it isn't, one of the problems that we'll continue to face is this issue of human traffic. the good news here in congress
there is a bill, the reauthorization of the tvpra. it passed out of the senate judiciary committee in october of this year by a 12-6 vote, and it does a few things. it promotes increased cooperation among the federal agencies, between the united states and other countries, and it supports and enhances the victim-centered approach which says we're going to approach this from the viewpoint of the victim and create protections and security for the victim amgdz their families so they can cooperate, so they can help us prosecute these people. and the the bill focuses on cutting off human trafficking at its roots. there are a lost countries out there that want to do the right thing. they either don't have the resources or the knowledge base to do it and there are some countries out there that don't mind this. in fact they cooperate with this stuff. they like that it's going on in their countries. they're on the take, so to speak. they need to be called out for what they're doing as well. finally, this promotes
accountability. it ensures that the federal funds are being used for their intended purposes and it reduces the authorization levels to address fiscal concerns but focuses on the problems that have been most effective. and so my hope is that that bill, ways bipartisan bill, will come to this floor soon that we'll have an opportunity to make it better, to get it passed, to work with our colleagues in the house, to send a very clear message that this is a priority, that this is something we should all agree on and work together on. it is a great cause to be involved in. it is one of the great humanitarian, human rights causes of the 21st century. and i think how we deal with it or fail to deal with it will say a lot about us as a people and a nation. i hope i can encourage as many of my colleagues as possible to take this cause up as their own. i look forward in the weeks to come to be able to come on the floor here and talk more about it. with that, i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from rhode island. mr. reed: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, i rise in support of the build america jobs act because it responds to two critical needs:
the jobs crisis that we face throughout this country and the need to improve our national infrastructure, which is obvious to everyone in every part of this country. over the four years of this economic crisis, the unemployment rate in rhode island has been one of the highest in the nation. it now stands at 10.5%. for many families, it has been a stressful and demoralizing time. very few have avoided the impacts in their own lives and in the lives of someone close to them of this economic crisis. it has been particularly devastating to those involved in construction, a sector where more than 2 million americans, including 7,000 rhode islanders, have lost their jobs since 2007. it's frustrating toke frustratie workers because all around they can see the need to maintain and improve our infrastructure, which by the way is essential to the free flow of commerce and the economic prosperity of the country going forward.
indeed, all of us, regardless phs our economic status, benefit from a sound transportation system. a few weeks ago, senator whitehouse and i joined rhode island transportation officials at the providence via duct. this is a 1,300-foot stretch of interstate rhode island 95 that -- route 95 runs directly through the heart of providence, rhode island. it connects new york and boston and the whole north-south highway system on the east coast. it is one of 155 bridges in our sphait alone that have -- in our state alone that have been fund to be structurally dwsht. it must be replaced within the next few years. it can no longer be repaired time and time again. it has to be replaced. if not, traffic will have to be rerouted which will have a major impact on our economy and the regional economy. route 95 is the highway link
between new york city and boston. if suddenly in the middle of that highway link you effectively put up a roadblock or restrict traffic to one lane, you're going to see economic activity throughout the northeast affected. already the rhode island department of transportation has installed wooden planks beneath the via duct to catch fallen concrete or debris that may fall on cars or pedestrians below. that's an example of just the first signs of the increasing decay. now, this is the kind of commonsense project that this jobs bill addresses, but it's not the only one. indeed 21% of rhode island's bridges are listed as structurally deficient while nearly 30% are functionally obsolete. there's a huge amount of work that we can do to improve existing conditions and make us more productive going forward. for rhode islanders, having this jobs bill would translate to
approximately $141 million of highway funding to help us respond to these obvious needs. moreover, it would provide $21 million in transit funding which would provide a real shot in the arm to help maintain efficient public transportation systems. we take pride around here. we have a statewide transportation system. it's oriented around our bus system. it travels the length of the state. it is very efficient, but it needs support. and this bill would help provide that support. the bill would also improve airports, particularly our major airport, t.f. green, with a safety facility and an expansion of a runway. it would make air travel not only safer, but it would make our airport more capable of intercontinental and international service. and right now we don't have that effective option. if we did, that would be a huge
multiplier to our economy. and it's based on sound infrastructure improvements. these are not new, novel techniques, new advanced technology. this is old-fashioned extending a runway, fixing a bridge, getting the economy moving again. everyone understands that. everyone on main street, on e street, south street, west street, in every corner of this country understands that. and we've always done it, and this bill will help us do it. finally the bill establishes a national infrastructure bank which i believe will play a critical role in financing these projects going forward. these projects would include clean water projects, energy projects as well as transportation projects. there's absolutely no doubt that these investments in infrastructure will benefit our economy. according to the economist mark zandi, every dollar invested in these types of projects will generate approximately $1.59 in
economic activity. there's a significant multiplier effect here, and it's part, i think of importantly getting us moving again, building up self-sustaining momentum. again, these projects will employ private companies that will hire individuals in all of our home states to begin the work that must be done to improve our infrastructure, to provide the kind of vital transportation links that are critical to any economy. and it's also very important to know that this proposal is fully paid for. and you have both business and labor supporting these investments in the bill. and i would hope we could all join together in a sign not of just common unity but common sense, and adopt this provision. build infrastructure. it's paid for. it puts people to work. that's what the american public is asking us to do, and we should do it. i want to comment briefly on the
republican alternative proposal. it fails to provide the investments that deal with these infrastructure and jock crises -- job crises we face today. it cuts $40 billion in discretionary funding without addressing the needs of our highway trust fund and other infrastructure improvement vehicles. more importantly, kpo scale back important -- it would scale back important public health protections under the e.p.a. the republican package includes the so-called e.p.a. regulatory relief act, the reins act and the regulatory time-out act. together these provisions not only threaten our economic progress, but also our public health. they would nullify the e.p.a. boiler rule. this rule has been calculated to produce $10 million to -- $10 to
$24 health benefits for every dollar spent. preventing approximately 6,600 premature deaths and about 40,000 asthma attacks per year. this translates, again, into another major crisis we face and that is an affordable health care system. one way to make the system affordable with health care is to prevent premature death, asthma attacks, a host of other things. and that's not incidental to what environmental protection does. that's at the heart of environmental protection. finally, the proposal places basically a moratorium on all regulation, including financial regulations. and we have seen, sadly, to our chagrin, the effect of lax regulation in 2008, when our financial markets were on the verge of collapse. unless we have effective regulation, unless we can effectively deploy the new tools provided under the dodd-frank act, unless we can resource
regulators to keep a watchful eye on the marketplace, frankly, we're going to once again relive those very, very dark days of 2008 when we saw markets on the verge of collapse. and we do so, frankly, in a global economic environment where there's pressures coming from europe, there's pressures coming from around the globe, economic pressures. if our markets aren't strong and well regulated, ask ourselves can they withstand the back wash from a crisis in greece, a crisis in italy, a crisis across the globe. i do believe that the legislation that has been proposed by leader reid, proposed essentially by the president makes sense. and i hope we can unite in common purpose to do what is a
mr. enzi: i ask that the activity under the quorum call be rescinded. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. enzi: we have some brief remarks to make about a judge that is coming up for a vote. i would ask that both myself and the other senator from wyoming be allowed to speak consecutively. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. enzi: thank you, mr. president. and i'd like to thank senator leahy and senator grassley and their staffs for moving this nomination. because of their efforts, i have this opportunity to express my
support for judge scott skavdahl, nomination to serve on the bench for the united states district court for the district of wyoming. although scott grew up in harrison, nebraska, it wasn't long before he made his way to my home state and enrolled at the university of wyoming. the university must have felt like a whole new world to him because he just graduated from a high school that had less than 50 students. still, while others might have been intimidated, scott just saw it as another life's challenges to be faced and overcome, so he worked hard and completed the requirements for his undergraduate degree. in between his classes, scott managed to find the time to pursue another interest of his as he joined and played on the university's football team for four years. now, after graduation, scott made a decision that was to start him on a path that would set the tone and the direction of his life when he applied to and was accepted by the university of wyoming law school. his classes were difficult and demanding, but scott knew what
he wanted to do with his life and what was true for him in so many things, he just wouldn't quit until he had accomplished what he had set out to do. that attitude of confidence and commitment to setting goals and achieving them is one of the reasons why scott has been able to establish a reputation for himself throughout his career as a serious and thoughtful litigator and a judge. whenever someone speaks of him, they always seem to use the same words to describe him. they say he is incredibly smart, a hard-working attorney and a highly competent and capable judge. they also say that although he wasn't born in wyoming, we're very glad to have him. looking back over each step along the way that led him to this hearing, it's clear that scott has used his time and his talents wisely and well. because of his background and his experience on a daily basis, scott has come to know in detail the issues that face the people of wyoming and how the people feel about them.
that's why it was no surprise that i have heard nothing but good things about scott, his approach to the law and his misdemeanor as a judge. simply put, scott knows all about the administration's ins and outs of the district of wyoming, and he has used his courtroom as a classroom to help us all be informed and aware of the issues that come before him and the reasons for his decisions on all of them. at times like these, it's always interesting to take a moment to look back at someone's life and connect the dots that brought him or her to this important moment in time. for scott, a childhood in nebraska led him to wyoming where he obtained the knowledge and skills he needed to pursue a career in something that really interested him, the law. he then used those credentials he earned in the classroom and his life to move step by step through our legal and judicial system. his talents and abilities soon caught the attention of former wyoming governor dave fried friedenthal and president obama.
the president has now nominated him to serve in this very important post, and he has been unanimously voted out of committee, and in and of itself, that recognition is a powerful endorsement of scott's background, his ability to interpret and apply the law, and his experience both in the courtroom and his community. it also expresses our confidence that scott will continue to serve as an integral part of the court system of wyoming, the west and our nation for many years to come. i urge my colleagues to support this nomination, and i look forward to the senate's approval of the nomination of judge scott skavdahl. i thank the chair and i yield the floor to my fellow senator. mr. barrasso: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from wyoming. mr. barrasso: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, in 19 years since his graduation from the university of wyoming college of law, judge skavdahl has distinguished himself both as an attorney and a trial judge. after working in the private sector and clerking for u.s.
district judge william downes, judge skavdahl was appointed by the former governor to serve as a district court judge for wyoming's seventh judicial district. during his time on the state bench, judge skavdahl earned the respect of the attorneys and the parties appearing in his court. he earned that respect for his integrity and his ethics to carry out his duties. he earned that respect for his reasoned decisions. he earned that respect for the manner, the manner in which he conducts himself in the courtroom and for being prepared and for his knowledge of the law. there is no doubt in my mind that judge skavdahl will bring those same skills and that respect for the law that he exhibited in the seventh judicial district to the federal bench. wyoming's federal judges have a long tradition, a long tradition of being widely regarded by their peers and respected by the
people who appear in their courts. judge scott skavdahl will continue that tradition for many years to come. i know judge skavdahl, i know his family. this is a family and a judge that i respect and that i admire, and i strongly encourage all of the members of the senate to join with senator enzi and join with me in supporting judge skavdahl's nomination. thank you, mr. president, i yield the floor. mr. barrasso: i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call: mr. sessions: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from alabama.
mr. sessions: i see the senator from west virginia. is he preparing to speak? the presiding officer: senator, we're in a quorum call. mr. sessions: i would ask that the quorum callening dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. sessions: i don't want to take advantage of the senator from west virginia. he's going to speak about five minutes? -- i was going to speak about five minutes, if i could. mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from alabama. mr. sessions: the plan that's been introduced to the senate today is really an affront to common sense, the plan presented by senator reid. it is a an affront to the financial condition this country is in. i am working and hope to be able to support a highway bill that'll have a modest increase in highway spending that's paid for, that does not increase the debt, and we can do that. it's not that hard.
apparently it is hard because nobody wants to make any tough choices. they want to set priorities. so then it becomes really hard. you just want to keep everything going at the same rate, but we really do need to invest some money in our infrastructure to maintain it -- highways, bridges, roads -- and expand certain highways that need to be fixed. so i think we should do that. senator reid comes in with a tax increase plan, a big spending plan, and totaling i think $60 billion. and we're supposed to pass this and we haven't yet found the money to pay for the fundamental highway bill this congress is supposed to be working on. i believe it's wrong. i don't believe it is -- it can be justified by any stretch of the imagination. well, don't worry, they say.
we're raising taxes to fund this new infrastructure program. only a small portion of it is the infrastructure bank. well, this country is spending enough. we're wasting enough money now. it would be a mistake for the american people to allow congress to extract more money from them to spend today on even a new program while we're doing nothing about the surging debt that's running on in our country, nothing about the sol lynn dray-type loan -- sol solyndra-type loan programs that are going on. that amounts to as much money as alabama gets from the highway and infrastructure bill alone. one loan. but we need to get our act together. i don't believe it's legitimate. i am the ranking republican on the budget committee.
i am looking at these numbers and i am just astounded. so we raised taxes. one time they say, we got to raise taxes to reduce or debt. now we're raise taxes to increase spending. a new program. and we still don't have the basic $12 billion that's being looked at to be found to fund the basic highway bill. i'm just flabbergasted. i don't believe it's right. i think it's a some kind of gimmick that political thinkers got together and conjured up and thethey imagine, this will be an thing. they'll bring it up on the floor -- it has no chance to pass -- we'll bring this up on the floor, the republicans will oppose it and we'll accuse them of being against highways, we'll accuse them of being fo against
taxes for millionaires. but some time we've got to get serious about this debt. we -- for the third year in a row -- we just completed september 30. we've had over $1 trillion in debt, 30% of the money we're spending, 40% of the money we're spending is borrowed. if we ever have to raise taxes, then that'll be the last thing, it ought to be done only after we've squeezed every wasteful dime out of spending in this country, before we go back and ask the american people to give more money to a congress that plays games with their money. which allowed the deficits to be maintained at a rate beyond anything this nation has ever seen before. and are projected to continue indefinitely under the plans that are out there from the budget the president submitted to us, which fortunately is not going to be accepted. so we've got a real problem,
mr. president. i thank the chair. i just want to be on record as saying, i don't believe this is a responsible way for us to proceed. i know there's a lot of politics around here, but we're at a point where we need to be thinking about a responsible way to find the funding to maintain a good highway program. and that's not going to be easy to have this bill thrown in here that's going to be dead as a doornail is not a good approach to it. we need to be worrying about that problem rather than a huge new spending program, allowing a bunch of bureaucrats to pick and choose where they want to send the money. that's the way the progressives like to do it you know. you just give them money and let these smart people decide where to pass it around. probably won't give any to west virginia and alabama. they got bigger projects in their mind than that. i thank the chair and i wanted to share those thoughts. i hope my completion will oppose -- i hope my colleagues will
oppose the reid bill that will be coming up later today. i yield the floor. mr. manchin: mr. president? the presiding officer: the snoer from west virginia. mr. manchin: mr. president, we've had a lost conversation today. we all agree we need infrastructure. on both sides of the aisle we've had good conversation. a road is not a democrat or republican road, a bridge is not a democrat or republican bridge, nor water line or sewer line. so i rise to adescries the build infrastructure in this -- you so i rise to address the build infrastructure in this country. earlier i attended a ribbon cutting at the bluestone dam in west virginia. when they started work on thew darnlings i was governor at that time, and i was setting in my office and i asked the colonel of the corks h corps, and i sain
what the problem would be. think of it this way, governor, we'd be under water right nowvment so it brought it to reality right now the extent of what we were dealing with and the billions and billions of damage costs we would incur. so we decided that we had to fix that with the help of our federal government. we started working on that way back in 2002. and we're going into our third phase of that project. roads and bridges are in terrible condition all over the country. and in every part of everybody's state. every member of the senate has their road or a bridge -- all 535 of us, republicans and democrats alike have a road or a bridge in our area or a water line or a sewer line that needs repair, as you in delaware have noted with the work you did for
all the good people of delaware, there was still an awful lot of repair that was needed. i believe in infrastructure and our economy can't gro grow. in west virginia, we say our economy can't grow if people can't go. with that, you need to be mobile. we also say, you have to drive to survive in west virginia because we're one of the most rural states in the nation. our people drive as far -- more than most state dozen for their jobs. with that, we have to have the ability to get to the good jobs and be ail to provide for their family. i've said before and it has been heard on the floor for the last few hours that infrastructure is is not a democrat idea or a republican idea. it is a commonsense idea. you think in history, 2007, the governors -- at the time we met in philadelphia. we knew that the economy wrasse slowing down. what can we do? we looked back in history and we saw that president roosevelt back in the 1930's invested in
infrastructure. we had w.p.a. projects that a lot of us use. they are a tremendous value. we turned to the infrastructure of this country through those hardworking people at that time that just needed a hand, a helping hand. president eisenhower in the 1950's, after the korean war, the economy needed to be jump-started. you saw the interstate system being built. we'rwe were a very mobile sociey coming off of the wars. we're still using the same infrastructure that was put in place then. this is a bipartisan because building infrastructure really is bipartisan. it solves to atwo problems: it fixes our crumb ling roads and bridges and creates much-needed american jobs. of all the people in my state applying for unemployment -- and it might be true in most every state -- construction workers are the biggest group of unemployed people today. with the most skill settl sets n
america. that's unacceptable in this great country when we have repairs being needed everywhere. we're going to vote, i think, on two proposals today. and i know one was spoken on in quick order. another one we're going to be vote on. one is a democratic measure, which is our rebuild america jobs act. another one is a republican measure that funds transportation and it reins in the e.p.a., which you know i have been trying to make sure there's a commonsense approach to how we balance the economy and the environment. in west virginia, i think, we can do it as well if not better than most because we're dealing with those types of challenges. i believe that both of these bills will help kickstart the comir and create american jobs. i really do. we all know we need that. i will vote for both of them. one is a democrat proposal. one is a republican proposal. i do believe i was sent here as
a west virginian to help my state. and not because they're bad ideas or wrong ideas, that they're probably going to fail. they both have good merits to them. but, as our good friend from alabama just said, it's politics of the order. that's what we're dealing with. and we'll find reasons probably why we can't. i know that on the jobs bill, the $60 billion, $50 billion dirk think you spoke so eloquently on it earlier -- $10 billion infrastructure bank. i know what an infrastructure bank does in my state. we have a revolving account, te same that's we're talking about here. everybody comes to the table. we're able to bridge some financial and put projects together that we never could have done. it is tremendous -- tremendously needed. so with that being said, it probably won't pass because our friends -- our dear friends on
the other side of the aisle, our republican colleagues and friends in the republican party are going to say, well, it is a .7% tax on incomes over $1 million. .7% tax. i can vote for that. i support that. but i also recognize that that's a problem for them. so in recognizing that, i'm willing to reach out and look for other ways to pay for this. irthink that's the spirit -- i think that's the spirit we should be working in. their offsets are credits. 73 of us voted for an ethanol credit. how about the money we're spending in afghanistan and iraq and rebuilding those nations, infrastructure we're spending there? i've said this before: you help us build a new bridge in west virginia, we won't blow it up. you help us build a new school, i guarantee you we won't burn it down. and we're so proud to say that the good people all over this
country helped us in west virginia and whriek to help other people in other states. we work together. that's what we should be doing, rebuilding america. so that's what i've asked everyone. come together. let's make sthiewr infrastructure, the need that we have all over our great country, is the first and foremost thing we should be working together on because we do agree as democrats and republicans and as americans we need that. and that is something i think we can come together on. let me turn out in to the -- let me turn now to the republican bill. i have been notified a couple hours ago, this bill isn't perfect either. doesn't give states the certainty they need. we've usually had a six-year authorization. when i was in west virginia, we did six years. we did our six-year planning of our roads in our state based on the federal bill, the authorization. federal highways bill. with only two years it is hard to get any project completed. sometimes it's even hard to get on the drawing board. with that being said, i am a
strong supporter of bringing in the e.p.a., which this bill does. i believe we've to set our transportation priorities. unfortunately, washington and all of us here seem to become so dysfunctional that the politics, whether it is the party politics or the personal politics, is -- put before the good of the country. it's got to stop. i i heard one of our good senators from arizona saying we're down to 9%. if it wasn't for our staff or our family, i don't know if we'd be within the margin of error. with that being said, we've got to come together. we've had disagreements throughout the history of this great country and we've come together many times. this is one i think will challenge all of us to come together as americans. people of west virginia didn't send me here to washington to play the blame game. i've said many times i've never
fixed a problem by blaming somebody else for it. i fixed a problem by identifying that we had a problem and then trying to bring all sides together to fix it. that's what we need more of here in washington. i don't think any of us were sent here to blame each other. i think we were sent here to work together. so, again i'm going to urge all my colleague and friends on both sides of the aisle to focus on the next generation. we see them every week come here, our young pages. you are our next generation. we need to be making votes for you, not our next election which is in 2012. that election is going to come and go. but if we don't have the opportunity to have the building tools you need to build the foundation that you can be the greatest next generation this country has ever seen, i don't know what we're going to say for the future of this country. i for one am not going to vote along those lines where it's going to be based on what's good for me, based on what's good for the party i belong to, but strictly based on what's good
for america and this next generation. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from nebraska. mr. johanns: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent to speak for about 12 minutes as if in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. johanns: mr. president, a few things provide me with greater clarity than conversations i have with people back home in nebraska. i rise today to discuss a few of those conversations i had just last week during our work period back home. i use this opportunity to meet with hrebgs treusty providers serving nebraskans -- with electricity providers serving nebraskans from the most populated areas to the smaller
communities like hastings, nebraska. it comes as no surprise that the focus of their frustration, their anger is with e.p.a. they feel they have been treated unfairly. they feel that the agency has not been straightforward or transparent. they feel that they now have a target on their backs. and they know that compliance with the latest e.p.a. regulatory bombshell is going to have a crushing impact on the communities that they serve. their latest concern is a rule known as cross-state air pollution rule, or cross state. the rule addresses airborne emissions that e.p.a. claims cross state lines and may affect air quality in another state. e.p.a. issued the final rule in july of this year. let me repeat that.
e.p.a. issued the final rule in july of this year and then demanded compliance by january 2012. that's six months. that is an impossibility, and e.p.a. knows it. well, here's why it's an impossibility. this is especially relevant to my state. nebraska was not included in the old version of the same rule, the so-called clean air interstate rule. we weren't a part of it. and the final rule changed dramatically from the proposed version. for example, the required reductions increased dramatically from the proposed rule that was published in july of 2010. so nebraska first found itself subject to this type of e.p.a. rule in the proposed rule in
july of 2010. then the final rule arrives a year later, and, boom, dramatically different rule. more severe reductions in compliance in an almost laughable six months. so basically nebraska gets a final rule thrust upon them, and no opportunity to comply. that could not be more unjust. draconian changes made in a final rule that departs so significantly from the proposed rule defeat the very purpose of our laws that prescribe how agencies are supposed to make rules. and i ran one of those agencies as secretary of agriculture. this process makes a mockery out of the rulemaking process. it makes public comments absolutely meaningless.
what good does review of a proposed rule do when the final rule is so radically different from the original proposal? and it also means that the community regulated cannot plan and cannot fix the problem. this is our government we're talking about. utilities cannot go to their ratepayers and say, look, we have to make changes. it's going to take some time and money, but here's our plan and here's how much it will cost you as a ratepayer. and e.p.a. has totally shoved aside the traditional role that some state regulators play as an e.p.a. partner in establishing clean air plans known as state implementation plans. in fact, in this case the e.p.a. established a federal implementation plan, a
one-size-fits-all national plan that completely rejects state efforts to manage compliance. our power providers and regulators are echoing the same message. there just isn't enough time for them. instead of three or five or ten years that is really needed by administrative fiat, e.p.a. has said, you get six months to rebuild a power plant. and let me be crystal clear about what nebraska's power providers did and didn't say. they did not say we can't change and we won't change. they did not say "just leave me alone." what they did say to me very clearly is "we can't wave a magic wand. we cannot do the impossible.
we cannot put together the finance plan in six months. we cannot put a request for bid out and get the work done in six months. we cannot get a design plan written by a competent engineering firm. we cannot arrange for a plant shutdown. we cannot get the construction crews to our facility, especially as cold weather sets into our state, between tphoup and january 1 to rebuild the power plant. it simply isn't humanly possible. so what options are possible? someone listening to me today might ask what options do they have? well, unfortunately, the first thing our providers are doing is just trying to understand the rule. that in itself is no small task, because as i explained, the rule is essentially brand-new. the ink is barely dry.
the e.p.a. did a head fake. they said here's the rule and then completely changed it in the final rule. secondly, electricity providers are making plans -- get this. they're making plans all across this country to decrease electric generation because of this rule. in hastings, nebraska, ratepayers have been told to expect an increase in operating costs of at least $3.8 million per year, including costs of retro fits for this rule and two others that are in the works by e.p.a. hastings figures $40 million to $50 million will be spent over the next five years. now, think about that for a second. imagine $40 million to $50 million for a community of
25,000 people. and that's for hastings. and only if the utility can figure out how it can get it done. and guess who bears the brunt of these costs? kwref hastings -- every hastings resident with an electricity meter. not shareholders. this is not a big electric company. no shareholder equity be drawn down. no preferred stock to be newly issued. we are in our state a 100-% public power state. just those folks in hastings, nebraska, because they got swept into an e.p.a. rule last july with a january deadline. fremont, nebraska, another great nebraska community, caught in the cross hairs, has indicated to cross state rule and two
other e.p.a. rules will cost customers about $35 million over the next three years. now, in new york city or washington, d.c., $35 million may seem insignificant, but to the 25,000 residents of fremont, nebraska, it is a huge deal. similarly, the cross-state rule will cost the nebraska public power district our largest electricity provider about $6 million next year in reduced we've knew as well as mandating about $40 million in costs before the end of 2012. electricity providers across the state are all looking at purchasing power from other generators. the only way they can get compliance now is to reduce generation. of course many neighboring
utilities in the state are subject to the same final rule. and guess what? this is the problem across the country. so everybody's in the hunt. the short compliance time frame is likely to drive the price of energy even higher. another option includes purchasing on the open market. no one knows how much it will cost because the same compressed time line affects the markets for credits. you may have also noticed i have not mentioned the bid, the design, the implement airex the installation of -- implementation, the installation of pollution control equipment as a strategy because in our state that possibility isn't an option for us because of the e.p.a. time line. six months is not enough time especially when the labor, the technical knowledge, the contractors, the financing are
all being chased by other utilities subject to the same rule. is it any wonder that people are frustrated? is it any wonder at all? that's why today i'm introducing legislation that addresses the way the e.p.a. handled this rule. my bill takes a couple of reasonable steps to address this unfair treatment not only in my state, but in 27 other states. first, under my bill, e.p.a. is prohibited from deck tating federal implementation plans -- from dictating federal implementation plans unless the agency has given the state a sufficient amount of time to develop a plan. the state must be given two years to put a plan in place. in addition, if my bill as enacted, e.p.a. cannot choose to reject a state's plan if as a result compliance would immediately follow. in other words, my bill
prohibits e.p.a. from jamming states by rejecting their plans and reurp an unreasonable -- require an unreasonable compliance time frame. finally, my bill says e.p.a.'s compliance deadlines are set aside for three years while states get a chance to put this together. the message of my bill is straightforward. don't freeze out states. don't jam us with a compliance schedule that everybody knows won't work. nebraskans, like everybody else, are tired of being treated as second-class citizens by an agency that has really run amok. and i suspect the same is true of 27 other states. nebraskans simply cannot believe e.p.a. is hitting the accelerator on a rule that will drive up electricity bills in more than half the country with no way for states to comply.
i share their frustration. the e.p.a. is in a constant thirst for power. i urge my colleagues to cosponsor this legislation, to introduce one small dose of common sense to this out-of-control agency. i yield the floor. i yield the floor, mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from california. mrs. boxer: mr. president, i listened with interest to senator -- to the senator's explanation of the cross-air rule and i would just say he is off the mark, because if you produce deadly pollution in your state -- deadly -- you have an obligation to clean it up before it goes into another state. it's like taking your garbage
and dumping it in your neighbor's, you know, front la lawn. we don't do that in america. so we're going to have a robust debate next week on the cross-air rule, but i would hope people would keep in mind, we're talking about deadly pollution produced in one state, series of states, moving over to a series of other states who have no defense. no defense. and so anyone who wants to come here and claim that that's the right thing to do morally, just walk away from that rule, i think they're going to have a hard time explaining it back home. i would not dump garbage on the front lawn of my neighbor's house, and i think that explanation of what this is about. but more on that later. today we're going to be facing a
very interesting choice. as we know, president obama has put together a major jobs package and he pays for it by going to the millionaires and saying, once you make a million dollars, after that, we think you could pay just a little bit more to help us get out of this recession. and my republican friends voted that down. they were just appalled that we would even suggest that there been, you know, even a few dollars of increased taxes on people who make over a million dollars. they would rather not do any job creation and protect the people who earn over a million dollars. so we have a very stark choice
today. we have a small version of the jobs bill. this one focuses on infrastructure, mostly transportation investments, paid for by a .7% tax on people who earn over a million dollars and would not go into effect on any of those funds until you've passed the million. so it would be taxed .7% on income over a mill yofnltdz i make that -- on income over a million dollars. i make that point because it is not going to hurt anybody. a person making $1.5 million would pay an additional $3,000. this is not anything that's
going to hurt the millionaires and billionaires. it's going to make this country stronger. it's going to grow this economy. so here's what we have. we have a democratic jobs bill. it's $60 billion. $50 billion for roads and billion and $10 billion for an infrastructure bank. to put that into the context of why this is so -- such a good bill and why it would create 650,000 jobs, let me tell you what it is, in essence, doing. it is taking an extra year of transportation funding. we spend about $50 billion a year approximately through the highway trust fund and it would inject essentially another year of spending over the next 12 months, creating well over 650,000 new jobs. what the republican alternative does is actually lose jobs.
what they do is they say they will continue the highway trust fund for two years so they're just continuing on what we're already doing. that's great. but then they cut the equivalent amount from police, fire, food inspection, f.b.i. and it will result in a loss of many jobs, 200,000 jobs. so you have one bill, the democratic bill, that creates a minimum of 650,000 jobs and you have the republican bill that cuts 200 sho,000 jobs. what are they thinking, mr. president? what are they thinking? this is not the time to cut 200,000 jobs. and then they end the health reform which we all know, while not perfect, is going to help
our deficit, reduce our deficit. so what they've done is they continue the highway spending at current levels, doesn't add one job. thethen they cut all those other jobs to pay for it, 200,000 jobs, and then they repeal health reform, which is going to add to the deficit. they cannot stand the thought of a billionaire paying a little bit more to help us at this ti time, even though everybody knows we're at a point in time where the -- the gap between the wealthiest and the middle class has never been bigger. mr. president, 400 families, 400 families earn more than 50% of all the rest of us. 400 families earn more than 50%
of all the rest of us. it is unbelievable. now, my state -- my state has many wealthy people in it, many poor people in it and a good middle class, but it's getting tougher to be part of that middle class. the middle class is hit hard with health costs. they're hit hard with college costs that keep going up. they're hit hard with gas prices going up. they're hit hard for mortgages that they can't refinance because their mortgage is now higher than their home is worth. so we have to act here on these issues and we have the ability to do it. if we just read the preamble of our constitution, it tells us
what we're supposed to do: work for a more perfect union, establish justice, domestic tranquility, promote the general welfare. we have to do these things today because we're losing the middle class. and this bill that's before us, the democratic jobs bill, is an excellent place to start this very day by infusing $60 billion into spending that will go mostly to private-sector contractors, people who build the roads, build the bridges. do you know, mr. president, that 70,000 bridges in america are deficient. 70,000 bridges in america are deficient. my colleague, senator inhofe, and i are working very closely on a highway bill. we're going to have one for you
soon. and he tells the story of a woman walking in oklahoma and she's just simply taking a walk and a bridge starts to fall apart and -- and falls down an and -- and traps her and kills her. and he says she was a young mother. you know, this is america in the 21st century. that is not acceptable. you can't have a country like ours neglect its infrastructure. it's wrong. but our republican friends won't work with us because they don't want to ask people earning over a million dollars to pay just a little bit more. for example, if someone makes $1.1 million, they'll have to pay $700 more. in their taxes. that's it. but they don't even want to go
there. what they want to do is say, oh, yeah, we'll just renew the highway bill but we will slash across the board everything but defense, they said, and that's how we're going to pay, they said, for their jobs bill, which actually will lose hundreds of thousands of jobs. it's an -- it's unbelievable to me. i don't think this is the time to say we'll turn our backs on jobs. as a matter of fact, in order to extend the highway trust fund, we're going to fire cops, firefighters, food safety inspectors, f.b.i. agents, and border patrol agents. that's what their alternative is. so don't vote for it unless you think it's the time to put firefighters out of work and cops and food safety inspectors and f.b.i. agents and border
patrol agents. now, the other thing the republicans do in this so-called jobs bill of theirs, which is a no jobs bill, it's a jobs loss bill, is they decide they want to block implementation of very important health and safety rules. and i want to go through what those rules are. and we're going to talk about the clean air act right now. mrs. boxer: the republicans are repealing two rules that deal with clean air, and here's the thing.
it's going to make people sick sicker, it's going to mean loss of jobs in clean tech, and it's the last thing the country needs, and it flies in the face of the views of the people. let's talk about one of the rules they want to cut back, industrial boilers and incinerators. this bill -- called a jobs bill -- would halt an e.p.a. rule issued in february 2011 to reduce toxic air pollution -- toxic air pollution. what do i mean? toxic means it's toxic to your health, it will hurt you. people will die from toxic air pollution. people do die from toxic air pollution. the toxins that the boiler and incinerator rule would reduce
include mercury, lead and other hazardous air pollutants released by boilers and incinerators. and let me tell you, they can write it the way they want it but here's what happens when we go back to those days when we allowed these toxins to be emitted. we saw developmental disabilities in our children. we saw more cases of cancer, more cases of heart disease, aggravated asthma and premature death. these aren't just words. congress commissioned a study and we now know exactly what we're doing and how many lives it saves and how many visits to the hospital it saves. and let me remind my friends who think that it's good for the economy to have toxic air pollution that if you can't
breathe, you can't work. if you have to rush to the hospital because your kid is rushed there because of an asthma attack, you lose a day's work. if you're a pregnant woman and now you have a problem with the child and the child is disabled or has problems mentally from too much mercury, this is a tragedy. so people say, "oh, the e.p.a., they're regulating too much and it costs too much." let me tell you the price of the republican agenda. sick people, loss of jobs in the clean tech industry, loss of days' work, loss of kids' school days. if you -- i would urge my colleagues in the senate, both parties, when you have your next meeting with a large group of people, whether it's a hundred people, 50 people or a couple, just ask them how many have asthma. ask them how many know someone
close to them with asthma. i guarantee you that a third to half of the room, hands will go up. now, that doesn't just happen, asthma, because you just woke occupy the wrong side of the bed. it happens because of the air you're breathing. and it's toxic. but in this so-called jobs bill, which i already told you lose us jobs, they not only do that, but to add insult to injury, they repeal all these rules. now, let me put it into context for you, since i've now spoken emotionally about what it does to people when they breathe in toxins. let knee give you the numbers. when congress demanded a study, we said, give us the numbers, and a study was done. we believe that the protections
from this industrial boiler rule will annually prevent up to 6,500 premature deaths, 4,000 heart attacks, 4,300 hospital emergency room visits, 310,000 days when people miss work or school, and 41,000 cases of aggravated asthma. the benefits from these safeguards are expected to be $54 billion annually by 2014. thathat's the rule my republican colleagues want us to set aside. if you went up to your constituency and you said to them, you know, we have a rule here, and industry going have to use the best available technology and clean up their pollution, and here's what it's going to do. its going to prevent 566,500
premature deaths, 310,000 days when people miss school, 41,000 cases of aggravated asthma, and it's going to deliver $54 billion in benefits, health benefits. i think your constituent would say, go for it, senator. that makes sense. and let me show you a poll, a poll that just came out, that shows you what the people -- how the people feel about this. now thereonow listen to this. you've got my republican friends offering what they call a jobs bill, which i just proved you to is jobs cuts because they just simply continue the highway trust fund.
they don't add any news. but they cut a couple hundred thousand jobs to pay for it, okay? and that's -- that's their so-called jobs bill. then they want to repeal two rules that fall under the clean air act, and i just talked to you about the boiler rule. but let me tell you what the people think, since we are supposed to represent the peop people. there was a bipartisan poll done in october, which was just a few days away. 88% of democrats, 85% of independents, and 58% of republicans oppose congress stopping the e.p.a. from enacting new limits on air pollution from power plants. who is speaking for the people? we need to vote down the republican alternative.
because 88% of democrats want us to, 85% of independents want us to, and 58% of republicans want us -- they don't want congress stepping in. then tuesday, senator paul is going to have a motion to repeal the cross-state air pollution rule, which is a rule that says to your state, you know what? if you're creating toxic air pollution and it's flowing to another state, you got to clean up your act. 67% of voters support the cross-state air pollution rule, and 77% of voters support the mercury toxic rule, 65% of voters surveyed are confident that the health and environmental benefits of air pollution standards outweigh the costs, and 75% of voters believe
a compelling reason to implement these air rules is the boost to local economies and thousands of new jobs that are created from investments in new technologies. so if we are representing the people of these great united states, we better listen to what they're saying in bipartisan way. they are taling us to -- they're telling us to leave the e.p.a. alone. people come in this floor. they demonize the e.p.a. they are going against the belief of the american people. there are some incredible quotes -- do we have the study? yes, thank you, frank. i want to read a couple of quotes because, to me, it's amazing what's happening around here.
and when i get to the place here, i want to tell you, give you some quotes from unlikely sources. and aid ask how many minutes we have on our side. the presiding officer: you're down to 14 minutes and 10 seconds. mrs. boxer: thank you so much, mr. president. here's a quote from general motors. general motors company recognizes the benefit of the country continuing the historic program to address greenhouse gases that the e.p.a. began. that's signed by the chairman and c.e.o. of general motors. a whole group of electric companies -- electricity-producing companies, pg and e, public service enterprise group, national grid, excel leon, constellation energy, austin energy wrote a letter in "the wall street
journal." "our companies experience plying with air quality regs demonstrate that regulations can yield important economic benefits including job creation while maintaining reliability." kind of amazing. and gerald ford, a republican president, who signed the safe drink water act in 1974 -- that's under attack, too, by the way -- he said, "nothing is more essential to the lightest of every single american than clean air, pure food, and safe drinking water." yet if you look at the republican plan, they roll back clean air regulations, they roll back food safety, even after we had dozens of people die from contacontaminated cantaloupe, my friends on the other side think it is the time to cut back on food safety inspection. give me a break!
who are we here representing? that's why people across the country are upset. they see things like this and they say, is this alice in wonderland? listen to what christie todd whitman and william ruckelshaus wrote two, republicans who were former e.p.a. administrators under republican presidents. they said, and i quote, "it is easy to forget how far we've come in the past 40 years. we should take heart from all this progress and not, as some in congress have suggested, seek to tear down the agency that the president and congress created to protect america's health and environment." they wrote that letter in march of this year. they understand. this isn't a partisan issue. republicans breathe the same air that democrats breathe and independents also share the air.
and that's why it's so frustrating to see in a so-called jobs bill for my colleagues on the other side of the aisle actual loss of jobs and loss of clean air regulations and loss of food safety inspections -- inspectors. and i have to say, i find myself quoting richard nixon more and more. thereon what he said. when he signed -- at the state of the union and he signed the clean air act. he said, "clean air, clean water, open spaces -- these should once again be the birth right of every american." so you've given you the quotes from republican presidents and republican administrators, former administrators of the e.p.a. i am stunned at this so-called jobs bill. so i talked about the industrial
boiler rule. they also roll back the cement manufacturing facilities rule. it would indefinitely delay standards to address smog and toxic soot pollution from over 150 cement keels nationwide. these facilities contain hazardous air pollutants including mercury, arsenic, lead, and other heavy metals. remember the movie, arsenic in old lace?" arsenic kills you. too much of it does that. come on! we need to clean up the air. we need to be sure we do it in a reasonable way, and i'm on that side. do it in a reasonable way. no one could be more reasonable than lisa jackson. i tell you, the woman has the patience of a saint. she is not going to go out and hit people over the head with this. she is going to phase in these regulations, she is going to listen carefully. you have to listen.
mercury, arsenic, lead, and other heavy metals, and they are the third-largest mercury source in the country -- cement manufacturing. let me tell you what these pollutants do. they cause cancer, they harming the reproductive system, and the developmental system. pregnant women and children are at risk. we hear a lot of talk about li life, when -- you know -- does life begin? that's for each individual and their god to decide that. but one thing i would hope we could agree on is that a pregnant woman shouldn't be subjected to too much mercury, too much arsenic in the air. so we have a rule here, a reduction of mercury and toxic soot emissions. we know that that rule will prevent 2,500 premature deaths,
1,500 heart attacks, 1,700 emergency room and hospital visits, it will prevent 17,000 cases of aggravated asthma attacks, 130,000 days of lost work, and it will provide up to $18 billion of benefits annually by 2013. a benefit to cost ratio of 19:1, and yet my friends on the other side think it is a terrible idea and want to indefinitely delay it. let me tell you something. if we had that kind of attitude in congress years before, we wouldn't have a clean air act, and i can tell you tbhapped los angeles. we used to have about 160 days in los angeles where people could not go out. they were warned to stay indoors. as a result of the clean air act now, we had none of those days
-- none -- in los angeles in 2010. so why on earth does anyone want to delay these rules? you want to sit with lisa jackson, sit with me and the chair of the environmental committee and sit with others and see a way that we can do this in a fair manner? of course. but the public wants us to act, and the action they want us to take is to support the e.p.a., not to put our nose in there and stop them from doing what the clean air act requires them to do. poll after poll shows that voters are on the side of clean air. they're on the side of protecting public health. they're not on the side of polluters. so i would just like to say, if nesthere's one thing we know toy
-- we know two things: people want jobs and they also want their health protected. and we also know that when you protect the people's health, what happens is a huge economic boost is given to the clean tec sector and that boost has resulted in many, many jobs. 1.7 million jobs are created because of these clean air rules, clean water riewlts. and the whole world, the whole world wants these technologies. i visit -- i had the amazing experience of visiting china. i didn't see the sun. i didn't see the sun for the seven days or so that i was there. the air is filthy, and people complain about it.
one day we had the hint of sun, the hint of sun breaking through the pollution, and the people there said, what a beautiful day. you must have brought the good weather. you know what? come to california. i'll show you a blue sky. we cannot go backwards. we need to move this country forwards. if the arc of history bends towards justice, it also bends towards health, public health, making sure our people get that health care, that they don't have those public health enemies out there: the soot, the arsenic, the lead, the mercury. and, yes, jobs. we have seen our g.d.p. explode since we passed the clean air act. it grew more than any other industrialized nation while we had these laws in place. for two reasons: one, these laws
create clean tech jobs. two, if you can't breathe, you can't work. and when you have a healthy society, you're far more productive. so you have the democratic alternative that will create over 600,000 jobs in transportation. it doesn't go into these extraneous issues, such as the air pollution laws. and then you have -- and it's paid for by .7% on income over $1 million. and then you have the republican alternative that just continues our transportation at the same levels and pays for it by cutting 200,000 jobs -- police, fire and the rest, f.b.i. agents, food safety inspectors, border patrol agents. just what we don't need. that's what they do. plus just for good measure, they repeal basically two clean air
act rules that i talked about, from boilers to cement plants. folks, if ever there was a difference between the parties in evidence, this is it. if one person comes up to me and says is there really a difference between democrats and republicans, i will point them to this debate. and so i hope very much that we will get enough votes to take up the democratic bill that is fully paid for and create over 600,000 jobs, that will fix our deficient bridges and our deficient highways, that will really say to the construction workers, we know you're out of work. we're going to put you back to work. or the republican alternative that would result in 200,000 jobs lost and overturning these clean air rules that are so important that the vast majority of people, including republicans who are asked about it, say congress, keep your hands off these rules. because you know what? we think they're working.
i thank you very much. i would reserve the balance for other speakers. thank you very much. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from utah. mr. hatch: mr. president, let us be clear about what the democrats rebuild america jobs act is and what it is not about. it is about expanding infrastructure spending financed by tax increases. it is about setting up a brand-new government bureaucracy in the form of an infrastructure bank that will take years to get underway and will subject taxpayers once again to private-sector risk-taking and to bailouts. it is about following in the footsteps of the ongoing cost of the government-sponsored enterprises or g.s.e.'s called fannie and freddie. it is about increasing the federal footprint in the infrastructure arena. it is about increasing taxes on those with incomes above
$500,000, now creatively called millionaires, including incomes of many business owners who risk their own capital to create jobs. it is about further federal wage controls on construction projects which lead to inefficient use of taxpayer funds. and it is about creating political talking points for the upcoming presidential election. they know they're doomed to fail. it's all a game. here's what the legislation is not about. it is not about creating jobs. it is not about engineering a more efficient and a more fair tax code. no, this is the same tune, different song. a bill for more spending financed with new taxes. it remains baffling to me that this is all that the other side ever seems to have to offer. the democrats' proposal incorporates more spending on various infrastructure initiatives, including one of the president's favorites: high-speed rail.
as columnist robert samuelson wrote in "the washington post" in february of this year -- quote -- "high-speed rail is not an investment in the future. it's mostly a waste of money." as for the arguments by some that we risk losing our global competitive edge without things like high-speed rail, i would encourage them to pay attention to what is going on beyond our shores. china, facing safety concerns, high debt associated with high-speed rail and political scandals involving kick bachs and you undue influence on rail spending, has scaled its back and operates high-speed rails at 30 miles an hour. spain, at one time, darling of those who promote high-speed rail spending, is also scaling back having identified such spending as imprudent in the current economic environment. here at home states reject hide-speed rail initiatives and
we learned in recent days the california's bullet train is now projected to cost close to $100 billion, nearly twice its previous projection. nonetheless, the administration and my friends on the other side of the aisle wish to plow forward by shoveling more taxpayer funds into exactly those sorts of projects with little more than rosy projections of future costs and benefits to justify the expense. mr. president, i'm deeply skeptical that the democrats legislation to fund more infrastructure projects is a good way to address our current national unemployment emergency and need for jobs. according to c.b.o. -- quote -- "large-scale construction projects of any type require years of planning and preparation, even those that are on the shelf." end quotes generally cannot be undertaken quickly enough to provide timely stimulus to the economy. unquote. more often than not, the delays are because of burdensome and
inefficient regulatory red tape. as president obama discovered too late, shovel-ready projects are hard to find. in june he talked about his first stimulus, saying that -- quote -- "shovel-ready was not as shovel-ready as we had expected." unquote. that may be humorous except they should have known better. unfortunately, americans looking for jobs and the american taxpayers who are now on the hook to pay off president obama's stimulus-driven debt do not find this to be a laughing matter. the infrastructure bank proposed by the other side would not even be up and running for well over a year, and probably longer. it will take a year or more just to set the bureaucracy up. how can this possibly have anything to do with creating jobs and lowering unemployment today? there are -- there were details about the proposed new government infrastructure bank bureaucracy and the power that it will wield. the proposed bank's board is required to give -- quote --
"adequate consideration" -- whatever that means -- to a host of features including -- quote -- "whether there is sufficient state or municipal political support for the successful completion of the infrastructure project." unquote. my proponents of the infrastructure bank are selling it as a new politics-freeway to fund projects. even the authorizing legislation explicitly calls for political considerations. the democrats' bill also claims that the bank would be a -- quote -- "united states government-owned independent" institution. government-owned and controlled by political appointees, but somehow independent. just like a g.s.e., government-sponsored entity. the definition of "eligible infrastructure project" in their bill includes a wide range of
possible projects, including high-speed rail, which americans do not want or need, and solid waste disposal facilities like the one that drove ham theburg, pennsylvania -- harrisburg, pennsylvania, into bankruptcy. most worrisome, the infrastructure bank board provided by their bill is provided with the authority to make any modifications it would like at its discretion to what constitutes an eligible infrastructure project. how long do you think it would take for the board to start doling out taxpayer funds to nonviable projects? haven't we seen enough of that in this administration? proponents of the infrastructure bank make the peculiar argument that somehow because the bank would not be able to make grants, taxpayers face no risk of losses. yet, the bank is empowered to make loans which are risky and the bank is empowered to issue
loan guarantees just like taxpayer-backed government guarantees of fannie and freddie really? think it. this just looks like a rebirth of fannie and freddie. that's all we need. how's that not risky? also problematic is direct authorization in the democrats' proposed infrastructure bank for deferral of payments of direct loans in the event that -- quote -- "the infrastructure project is unable to generate sufficient revenues to pay the scheduled loan prepayments of principal and interest on the direct loan under this act." unquote. translation: if a project's revenue streams are insufficient to pay off the government loan, then the loan gets modified and extended. this of course benefits any private partner of the taxpayer-funded infrastructure project while taxpayers are put on the hook for the losses. have we been here before?
i think we all know what the answer to that is. this is an explicit admission in the authorizing legislation that contingencies are expected in which taxpayers suffer losses and end up bailing out private entities. this is the essence of the corporate bailout. this is corporatism at its worst. privatized profits and socialized losses. the whipsawing here is too much to handle. on the one hand, the president, a former community organizer, stands with the occupy wall street pro tefrts -- protesters criticizing the so-called rich. on the other hand, he and his congressional allies support legislation that would make taxpayers responsible for the bad decisions of wealthy contractors. i tphraorbgd to the critiques of this crony capitalism at the occupy wall street gatherings. and taxpayers are on the hook for billions. keep in mind that it is not nearly the advertised initial price tag of $10 billion of
taxpayer money necessary to start up the proposed new infrastructure bank bureaucracy that would be at stake. the bank will be empowered to -- quote -- "leverage" taxpayer dollars to support 10, 20 or maybe 30 times that amount tpo so-called private-public partnership projects. have we forgotten leverages would help create the largest projects since the great depression. for proponents of the infrastructure bank ledge in this case is a good thing. make no mistake, leverage means risk and more leverage means more risk. why, when taxpayers have not even seen the last of the losses from fannie and freddie would we even consider setting up a brand-new public-private mongrel called an infrastructure bank that will again subject taxpayers to losses? why would we set up a new federal bureaucracy that will require bailouts on projects
specially selected by unelected political appointees with the power to pick winners and losers or winning and losing projects eligible for government assistance? it is of interest that one of the new pitches for an infrastructure bank is that we need it to help us to be more globally competitive. sometimes comparisons are made with the growth of infrastructure spending in developing countries like china. but of course developing countries devote many resources to infrastructure spending. it is almost a totalology, those countries are starting with a smaller beginning base so you would expect a need for greater growth. proponents of infrastructure spending cite ranking of the u.s. globally on its infrastructure from a recent world economic forum global competitiveness report. if they had read the most recent report carefully, they would note that it identifies that the top-two most problematic factors for doing business in america
are tax rates and inefficient government bureaucracy. yet, the democrats' bill seeks to increase tax rates and construct a new bureaucracy called an infrastructure bank. mr. president, we do not need a new federal bureaucracy filled with politically appointed bureaucrats. we do not need a government picking economic winners and losers. we do not need more government spending years from now to deal with an unemployment crisis today. we do not need more taxes at a time when the unemployment rate is 9.1%. we most definitely tkphot need another g.s.e. if you like fannie and freddie, you will love the proposed infrastructure bank. once again, the other shied has turned -- other shied has turned to class warfare. even millionaires and billionaires need to be brought to economic justice.
a 0.7% tax or whatever the rate of the week special cooked up by the democratic war room happens to be imposed on individual income that begins at $500,000 will bring equality and justice for all. a few points need to be made about the surtax proposal. first, it is more taxes to pay for more government spending. we need to keep in mind when we hear democrats talk about the need to raise taxes to reduce the deficit. second, it is not real economic or tax policy. it is designed to deliver a talking point to an administration increasingly concerned about its re-election prospects. mr. president, i remind my friends on the other side of the aisle again that those earning $500,000 or more who they creatively call millionaires and billionaires are not a static group of people. many who earn those amounts in one year are likely to earn far less in the next year or in the prior year. in fact, the highest income taxpayers are a dynamic and
rapidly changing group. any one of us could become there if we just work hard enough and are smart enough to get there. and that is constantly changing. keep in mind that a significant number of people hit by the democrats' tax hike would be business owners, the same people we need to create new jobs. significant for actions of net positive and business income and of active flowthrough business income would be subject to senator reid's new surtax. this is especially harmful to small businesses which are often organized as flow-through entities, including sole proprietorships, partnerships, l.l.c.'s and s. corporations. mr. president, we could not need higher taxes that will fail on job creators to write checks for the president's special preferences like spending on high-speed rail that americans do not want or need. we do not need a risky g.s.e.-like taxpayer-funded infrastructure bank populated by political appointees able to pick and choose whatever
spending they like to define as an infrastructure project while subjecting taxpayers to private risk taking. fortunately, there is a better way and it is contained in my legislation titled "the long-term surface transportation extension act of 2011." briefly, here's what it does. it eliminates dedicated funding for transportation enhancements and gives states the authority to decide whether to spend resources on add-ons such as bike paths. it reforms the national environmental policy act by eliminating bureaucratic red tape and accelerating project delivery and contract and just asked for in the president's job council. it supports job creation by placing a temporary time-out on job-killing restorations that are estimated to have significant economic effects. it includes provisions through waivers of inefficient environmental reviews, approvals and licensing and permitting requirements for road, highway
and bridge rebuilding efforts in emergency situations. these things cost billions of unnecessary dollars. it goes straight to the matter of job creation and it draws from bipartisan recommendations, including recommendations from the president's own bipartisan jobs council. we haven't ignored the president. we're taking some of his ideas and putting it into this bill. it allows fully paid for infrastructure projects for undertaken to help build roads, bridges and a host of other projects without imposing permanent job-killing higher taxes due to our national unemployment emergency. mr. president, i urge all of my colleagues to vote in support of my legislation and to vote against the tax and spend alternative offered by those on the other side. we have had enough of this. we have had enough with fannie and freddie. yes, it was set up to do good but it's wound up putting us in bankruptcy, and then just this week we find that they have all -- many of the leaders of fannie and freddie are taking
home huge bonuses and running the place into the ground. now, the new ones, i think, the new leadership -- maybe that's a little harsh, but the fact of the matter is why should they be taking bonuses when we know that fannie and freddie are in real trouble, and i predict that if the democrat bill passes and we get this infrastructure bank set up, it's only a matter of time until this will be another fannie and freddie. that's what happens when government bureaucrats decide who wins, who loses and interfere with the private sector and those who have always made the private sector go and be efficient and worthwhile for all of us. mr. president, i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from delaware. mr. carper: i ask for unanimous consent to speak for five minutes. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. carper: thank you. mr. president, last year, i was pleased to provide the other president, the president of the united states, with the names of three superbly qualified delawareans for him to consider
for the one open seat on the u.s. district court in delaware. there are four seats on that court. any one of those three individuals would have made an excellent addition to our court, and all of them uphold the high regard to which that court is held, not only in delaware but across our country. i believe the president has made three -- has made a particularly strong choice in nominating for this vacancy richard g. andrews for this judicial appointment this past may. the senate judiciary committee used sound judgment in approving his nomination unanimously in september, and we're grateful for the expeditious handling and approval of this nomination unanimously. as i travel across delaware, i often hear from people who are convinced that the senate is overwhelmed by partisan tensions which really in too many instances leave us incapable of doing our jobs. i'm sure that my colleagues, both republican and democrats here today, have heard similar concerns. confirming rich andrews will
help to win back some confidence, i think, that we can work together to do the right thing, not just for the people of delaware but for the people of america. throughout his career, rich andrews has been supported by members of both parties. he was appointed to the united states -- appointed the united states attorney under attorney general janet reno and attorney general john ashcroft, both of them, one a democrat, the other a republican. most recently, the senate judiciary committee supported his nomination without one single dissent. our country is fortunate that someone with his outstanding credentials has stepped forward to do this critical work. mr. andrews' education, his background, his legal experience make him superbly qualified for this position. as a student at haverford college, rich andrews graduated with a bachelor of arts degree in political science after which he earned his law degree at the university of california in berkeley where he served as noted comment editor for "the california law review."
after law school, rich andrews launched his career as a clerk for the legendary chief judge of the third circuit court of appeals. following his clerkship, for 23 years, rich served as a prosecutor in the united states attorney's office in wilmington, serving in a number of high-profile positions and eventually rising to the position of assistant u.s. attorney. when duty called, he stepped up to serve as acting u.s. attorney, not once, not twice, but on three separate occasions. i have kidded to say he has served longer as acting u.s. attorney than some people have served as u.s. attorney in other states. but during his time with the u.s. attorney's office, rich prepared and prosecuted countless federal cases, and in doing so, gained wide-ranging trial experience that he will draw upon heavily while serving as a district court junk if confirmed today. currently, rich serves as a state prosecutor for the delaware department of justice where he manages the criminal division overseeing more than 70 deputy attorney generals in making critical decisions about how to proceed in high-level
criminal cases. finally, in addition to his professional experience, rich is a family man, a person of great character. his wife kathy langto is the associate dean and professor of law at villanova university. their son peter is a sophomore at columbia university. their daughter amy is senior and city council president of mount pleasant high school not far from where i and my family live. in his free time, rich has coached for the concord soccer association of delaware for more than a decade. i also understand that rich has spent parts of the last four years grading answers to the delaware bar exam. in every facet of his life, rich andrews has performed with distinction. let me conclude by saying i'm proud to support someone who has provided and who will continue to provide exemplary service for the people of our state and nation. his sound legal judgment, his tireless work ethic and his experience as a federal
prosecutor have prepared rich andrews well to fill this seat on the u.s. district court in delaware. i urge my colleagues to support me in joining in support of this confirmation. with that, i yield back the floor and thank you very much, mr. president. ms. klobuchar: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from minnesota. ms. klobuchar: mr. president, i am speaking on the vote that is about to occur in this chamber on the rebuild america jobs act. over the past few days, we have been discussing how to best address our nation's crumbling infrastructure. the cracks in this broken system became tragically clear on a beautiful summer's day in minnesota, august 1, 2007, when the i-35w bridge simply crashed into the mississippi river, killing 13 people, dozens of cars in the river. as i said that day, a bridge just shouldn't fall down in the middle of america, but it did. and not an eight-lane highway shouldn't fall down, not a highway that is literally six
blocks from my house that i drive over every day with my family, but that's what happened. and yet, four years after the i-35w bridge collapsed and was fixed a year later, still 25% of the nation's 600,000 bridges have been declared structurally deficient or obsolete, 25%. our country has gotten a near-failing grade from the civil academy of engineers. our construction workers have an unemployment rate that is over 13%, more than four points above the national average. these are not acceptable realities in this country. americans spend 4.8 billion hours every year stuck in congestion, stuck in traffic, and when you look at what happens in other countries, other countries that are spending 7%, 8%, 9% of their gross domestic product on infrastructure, we're barely hanging in at 2%, yet we want to be a competitive nation, we want
to be a nation that makes things again, that exports to the world. if we don't have the air traffic control system that works, if we don't have the bridges that work, if we don't have the highways that work, if we don't have a way of waterways to bring our barges down, to bring our goods to market, we are not going to be able to compete in this economy. this is simply not an acceptable reality for a country like america. you think about the interstate highway system built during eisenhower's presidency with a democratic congress. you think about rural electrification, all of these things that were built during difficult times in this country. why? because we didn't think america was about just tinkering at the edges. we believed that america was about moving ahead. that's why we need to move forward today on the rebuild america jobs act. all of us recognize the urgent need for new and bold initiatives to fix what is broken and to build the roads, the bridges, the airports and the ports we need to fuel a
21st century economy, and the infrastructure bank, which is, of course, included in this legislation is something that has enjoyed bipartisan support from the beginning. it's one of those initiatives that will foster public-private partnership with the potential to leverage hundreds of billions of dollars for infrastructure investment. it's about big projects, but it's also about rural projects in states like vermont and minnesota. it's about waste water treatment plants and water projects and sewer projects, things that have been negligented for way too long. fixing our nation's infrastructure will provide a broad range of benefits. we can reduce that congestion. we can better compete globally. we can create jobs and improve public safety. this is about working to ensure that no bridge ever again collapses in the middle of america. this is our challenge. we can't put it off any longer. this is the time to act. traditionally, there have been no such thing as a democratic
bridge or a republican bridge. in fact, the transportation secretary for president obama is a former republican congressman. we have come together on infrastructure. we cannot come apart. this is the time to come together. i urge my colleagues to vote to allow this bill to proceed to a vote. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor. mr. president, i ask unanimous consent to yield back all the time on both sides, and i ask for the yeas and nays. the presiding officer: is there a second? there appears to be. the question is on the motion to proceed to s. 1769. under the previous order, 60 votes are required to adopt the motion. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
to. the majority leader. mr. reid: i ask for order, please. the presiding officer: the senate will be in order. mr. reid: i'd like to outline what the rest of the day will be. madam president, i ask unanimous consent that notwithstanding the previous order, following the next vote, the senate proceed to executive session to consider the following nominations. calendar number 353 and 356. that there be two minutes for debate equally divided in the usual form following that debate of calendar number 356 -- following that debate, calendar number 356 be confirmed, the senate proceed to vote with no intervening action on calendar number 353 with the provision of the previous order remaining in effect, and that the next two votes be ten minutes in duration. the presiding officer: without objection. the question is on the motion to proceed to s. 1786.
under the previous order, 60 votes are required to adopt this motion. two minutes equally divided on the debate. who yields? who yields back? who yields time? two minutes equally divided. mrs. boxer: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from california. order in the senate, please. please take your conversations out of the well. the senate is not in order. please take your conversations out of the well. the senator from california. mrs. boxer: thank you very much. colleagues, what's before us now is supposed to be a jobs bill. actually, all they do here in
this alternative, my republican friends, is they extend the highway trust fund at the current levels, so that is something we intend to do and senator inhofe and i are going to bring a bill to the floor that does that. but they decide that they want to do it now, and how do they pay for it? they put $40 billion out of such functions as firefighters, police, border patrol, food safety inspectors, and we will lose 200,000 jobs from that action. in addition, there are two rollbacks of environmental laws that deserve a heck of a lot more notice than putting them in this bill, and that's going to hurt our people because if you can't breathe, you can't work. we have to get the mercury and the soot and the arsenic out of the air. so i hope we will vote no on this. it's not a jobs bill. i would yield. the presiding officer: who yields time?
the presiding officer: are there any senators in the chamber wishing to vote or change their vote? on this vote, the yeas are 47, the nays are 53. under the previous order, requiring 60 votes for the adoption of this motion, the motion to proceed is not agreed to. under the previous order, the senate having received from the house a message with respect to h.r. 2112, the senate insists on its amendments, agrees to a conference with the house and the chair appoints the following as conferees on the part of the senate: the clerk: senators kohl, harkin, feinstein, johnson of south dakota, nelson of nebraska, inouye, murphy, mikulskiings blunt, cochran, mcconnell, mcconnell, moran,
and shell bi. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the senate proceed to executive session to consider the following nominations which the clerk will report. the clerk: nominations, the judiciary committee: scott wesley skavdahl of wyoming to be united states district judge. richard g. andrews of delaware to be united states district judge. the presiding officer: two minutes equally divided. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from wyoming. mr. enzi: madam president, i want to ask for your wholehearted support for judge skavdahl of wyoming. he was nominated by our democratic governor. he was appointed by the president and he has the wholehearted support of our delegation. we have spoken for him in committee and are doing that again on the floor, and we have a full statement that we submitted. so i would -- i would thank you for your vote on this. he came up through the courts in
wyoming and now will be a federal judge, with your help. thank you. the presiding officer: who yieldyields? who yields back time? time is yielded back. under the previous order, the andrews nomination is confirmed. the question is on the skavdahl nomination. is there a sufficient second? there appears to be a sufficient second. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
any senators who wish to vote or to change their vote? if not, on this vote, the yeas are 96, the nays are zero. the nomination is confirmed. under the previous order, the motions to reconsider are considered made and laid upon the table. the president shall be immediately notified of the senate's action, and the senate will resume legislative session. the senator from vermont is recognized. mr. leahy: madam president, i would ask consent the senate be as if in morning session with senators permitted to speak up to ten minutes each. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. inhofe: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from oklahoma is recognized. mr. inhofe: thank you, madam president. i ask unanimous consent that i
be considered as if in morning business. the presiding officer: the senate is in morning business, senator, and the senator is recognized. mr. inhofe: madam president, after the vote today, i -- i think that any effort to pass a bill such as the ones that we just now voted on would be very difficult, but something good does happen from that, and that is that we had the vast majority of people in this chamber recognizing that we need to do something that would be stimulative to the economy, something like -- or i should say something unlike the stimulus bill that we had before where only 3% of the money actually went to building roads, highways and maintenance and that type of thing. so i do appreciate the fact that we are now in a position where i think with this behind us we can be looking at a good, legitimate highway transportation and
reauthorization bill. i have been working very closely with senators boxer, vitter and baucus. we are considered the big four in the -- in the environment and public works committee to come up with something. i have to say we have worked very hard, and i am talking hours and hours. any time you can get senator barbara boxer from california and me to agree on something, you know we have gone to a lot of work, and we have. we have done a lot of giving and a lot of taking. senator boxer and i along with senators vitter and baucus recognize that we desperately need, desperately need to have a transportation reauthorization bill and to do it the right way. all these things that we have been doing with extensions, they don't work. there is not a member of this chamber that doesn't go back every week and talk to his transportation director and they say why can't we quit these extensions and go ahead and get a good bill? we have a good bill that we're working on, we're talking about reforms. it's our intention, i believe, next week to mark this bill up, so we are looking forward to it.
i have a very strong bias toward toward -- toward the transportation. for the years i was in the house, i was on that committee. back then, we didn't have any problems because back then we had a highway trust fund that always had a surplus and had a surplus because we were very aggressive at that time, and of course at that time a lot more people were purchasing gas, the revenues were up, and so we had a surplus. unfortunately, this always happens in washington, d.c., as people came along and looked at -- looked at this surplus, that was a target, everybody wanted in on it, so they put their deal into the highway trust fund. that's partly how we got where we are today. now, i do appreciate the conversation we get from president obama. he is always talking about how he wants infrastructure, and he had the picture where he was standing in front of the bridge and making a speech about creating jobs, and then he doesn't have anything in his program that does anything with infrastructure. and our problem is that
president obama has been talking the talk, and he has spoken about more infrastructure i think than any president since president eisenhower proposed an interstate system. but then when you get up to the $800 billion surplus bill, in doing the calculations, only 3%, only 3%, about $27 billion of that would have been -- was in highway construction or maintenance, and we made an effort on the floor, a bipartisan effort. senator boxer and i did to try to raise the percentage up to -- i wanted it up to about 10% or maybe even higher, however much that we could get the work done at that time. we were unable to do it. so the president was not on our side on that. so anyway, i think the good news is that today's votes, both the democrats and republicans, showed that they are very interested and very supportive of a highway bill. so i think now we have gotten a lot of that stuff out of the way. we can go in and concentrate on
a highway bill. i -- i think both parties are trying to create jobs and economic growth through the building of highways and bridges and most americans are unaware of just how damaging regulations are. when you stop and think about proposing a massive program, which is what we're talking about now, a reauthorization program, it isn't massive in that the funding level will probably stay at the same it has been since the highway reauthorization bill of 2005, but when they talk about that, they -- we are always faced with the regulation problem. we're trying to address the regulation problems that are out there in this bill to try to have some short cuts and try to get some things done that otherwise would take a lot longer. but regulations have been just a huge problem in this administration's environmental protection agency alone has just an unprecedented number of
regulations, and they are destroying jobs. i think the results are there. i will mention the five most expensive regulations of all the regulations that have come out. first to be the greenhouse gas regulations. i think we all know what that is. that's the regulations of trying to do something through regulations that they were unable to do through legislation. secondly, ozone, the national ambient air quality standards. that would be about a $678 billion loss in g.d.p. by 2020. incidentally, i failed to mention the greenhouse gas regulations, they would be in excess of 300 bpped to 400ed about a year. the boilermac regulations, that would be loss to g.d.p. that is the maximum achievable technology. in other words, one of the problems with all these mat bills that is coming out of the
administration is that there is no technology available to -- to carry out the mandates on emissions. cement mat. fortunately, in september, president obama withdrew the e.p.a.'s proposed ozone standards. there is a good reason for this. for one reason, the ozone standards are supposed to be predicated on new science. this is on the same science that the lasso zone changes were based on, and i think when people caught onto that and they recognized what it would cost -- i know in my state of oklahoma, we would be looking at some 15 counties that would be out of -- out of attainment, and there is nothing more dreadful that can happen to a state than to have your counties go out of attainment so you're not able to recruit jobs or even keep the jobs that you have. so we would be talking about in that case, it would have been around seven million jobs throughout the united states. well, because of that, politically, he has postponed
that. quite frankly, i think he is postponing it until after the next election, and if he should be re-elected, i can assure you we're going to see that again. now, the democrats are always saying that we need to have tax increases and that's the best way to grow, and i -- you know, i -- i look at this sometimes. recently, the office of management and budget came up with the calculation that is consistent with one that i have been using for 20 years. that is, for each 1% increase in economic activity in this country or 1% growth, that equates to about $50 billion of new revenue. and interestingly enough, this is not the -- a republican idea. it was president kennedy -- the last time i checked, he was a democrat -- he was the one, and this is a direct quote, he said we have got to raise more money for the great society, and the best way to raise money is to reduce marginal tax rates. and he did it and it worked. and we saw what ronald reagan did in the years that followed that. during the eight years that he
was in office, the proceeds for marginal rates went up from $244 billion to $466 billion, and that was at a time when rates were reduced more than any other eight-year period in history. so i think we're looking at other opportunities by reducing some of the regulations and all of that that we can come up with and resolve the problem. i think one thing that is very important -- and i know there is no one in this chamber that doesn't recognize my concern that i have expressed over the years over the legislation that has been proposed ever since the kyoto treaty on -- on legislative cap-and-trade. cap-and-trade, every time there is an analysis made, whether it's made by m.i.t., whether it's made by the wharton school, the charles rivers or any of the rest of them, the range of the cost of cap-and-trade legislatively is always between $300 billion and $400 billion a
year. now we find out that if you do it by regulation, it's going to be far more than that, and these are democrats who are on record as saying that. i think lisa jackson, she is one, by the way, i have a great deal of respect for her. lisa jackson, the obama-appointed director of the environmental protection agency. every time i ask her a question, she gives me an honest answer. she said i have said over and over again -- i'm quoting now, lisa jackson. she said -- "as the president -- i have said over and over again, as has the president, that we do understand that there are costs to the economy of addressing global warming emissions, and the best way to address them is through a gradual vote and to a market-based program like cap-and-trade." what she is saying here is cap-and-trade bills, yes, they would cost a lot of money. no one refutes the $300 billion to $400 billion figure, but this would be even more than that. i think john kerry said the same thing. he said if congress does not
pass legislation dealing with climate change, the administration will use the environmental protection agency to impose new regulations. these regulations would be more expensive. i think that the e.p.a. has admitted that if they were able to accomplish this, if they were through regulations, they would need to hire an additional 230,000 employees to spend an additional $21 billion to implement its greenhouse gas regime, and all of this economic pain is for no -- no gain. as the e.p.a. administrator jackson also admitted before the e.p.a. committee, these regulations will have no affect on the -- no effect on the claimant. i do want to mention that. i think that's significant. there are a lot of people who disagree with me in terms of the impact of co2 emissions and all of that. the presiding officer: there is a ten-minute limit.
mr. inhofe: i ask unanimous consent that i be recognized as if in morning business without a time restriction. the presiding officer: we were already in the morning business with the ten-minute limit, but if you want to ask for an extension. mr. inhofe: i ask for an extension. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection, so ordered. mr. inhofe: i will hurry through this thing. let me just say this. two things having to do with that issue i think are very important. if we were to pass legislation sore do something through regulations that would -- would be aimed at reducing greenhouse gases, would this have an effect on the rules reduction of emissions worldwide. i asked the question to lisa jackson, her answer was no. obviously, the problem is not in the united states, nits china, india, other places. so in looking at it that way, i have to also mention that we all know what happened with climategate, we all know that when we tbhent and started an
endangerment finding it was based on the science that came from the ipcc which has been totally discredited and when i have longer i will go into the details as some how much -- how that was discredited. for example the daily telegraph said it was such a scandal, it could be the greatest scandal in modern science. they were cooking the science at the united nations and the ipcc. now we are going to the point where we asked for an inspector general's opinion as to whether or not the e.p.a. followed the proper guidelines in trying to regulate greenhouse gases and in fact they did not follow the right guidelines. so i would only say that the inspector general's investigation uncovered the e.p.a. failed to engage in the required recordkeeping process leading up to the endangerment finding decision and did not follow its own peer review procedures taupe sure that the science behind the decision was
sound signs. so the e.p.a. administrator, lisa jackson, readily admitted that it would not -- that the science used was this -- flawed science called the intergovernmental panel on climate change. so by just say this, vice presidents that we -- say this, madam president, that we're concerned about the overregulations, we're concerned about the process that's been used and how regulations are used to -- to create an agenda to support an agenda that the president has. i'll mention one last thing. one last thing and this is the regulation i didn't mention before of the five most expensive regulations, this isn't one of them gu but kite end up being the most. we know for a fact, the united states of america, we have report now that shows with all the findings, with all the good things that are happening in the shale throughout the united states and elsewhere, in the
northern hemisphere that we could be totally free from dependency on any other country if we would just get -- get politicians out of the way and develop our own resources. we have enough natural gas to meet america's demand for 90 years, in enough oil for 50 years but in order to do this they have to use a process called high cathedrallic fracturing. ironically that was started in my state of oklahoma in 1949 and it's been used ever since that time and there's never been a confirmed case of groundwater contamination. nonetheless right now we see they're going through this process of saying we are going to take over the regulation of hydraulic fracturing from the states and put it in federal government. i have to be suspicious that there's motive behind that and that motive is to try to restrict the use of high drawl bic fracturing. could you open up the east coast, the west coast, the north slope slope and everything else. if you can't use that process, we're not going to be able to
achieve energy independence which we can do. we don't have to -- to use anything new that's out there other than oil, gas, and coal and this is -- and with what's happening right now with -- with -- with hydrogeneral we have an opportunity to become self-sufficient. with that i will yield the floor so my good friend will make his comments. a senator: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from idaho is recognized. mr. risch: i rise to recognize
the 389th expeditionary quad ron. better nope as the t-bolts is part of the 366 6th fighter wing based at mountain home air force base in idaho. at mountain home the squadron was come composed of 80 airmen credit from across the united states including aviators and essential ground personnel. while deployed the squadron grew to over 400, including main tapers, intelligence personnel and support staff from the 366th. in may, 2011, the t-bolts deployed to baghram air base in afghanistan with 18 f-15-e strike eagles to support operation enduring freedom. in the process, they demonstrated resolve and what can be accomplished through fierce loyalty to each other and to our country.
the t-bolts prosecuted 3,100 combat missions and dropped 800 tons of oird naps. they supported 3,700 ground missions by american and allied forces and responded to 820 troops in contact emergency support combat calls. in addition, they worked directly with special operations forces to destroy 170 enemy weapons catches and capture 620 detainees including 90 high-value individuals. the diligence of the maintainers and ground personnel ensured that the 389th met 100% of their taskings without missing a single sortie. the pilots and weapons systems officers broke the f-15-e deployment record flying more than 14,000 hours in just over six months.
through their excellence and determination, the 39th kept relentless pressure on the al qaeda network, killing key members of their senior leadership. additionally, they directly supported numerous large-scale coalition ground operations with kinetic and nonkinetic effects as they provided lethal close air support across afghanistan. the men and women of the 389th made a real and substantial contribution to the safety of america. the success of the global war on terror and substantial damage to al qaeda and those who would do us harm. by successfully taking the fight to the enemy, the t-bolts helped write the history of the early 21st century through their tenacity and their courage. no one summed it up better or more eloquently than the commander of the 366th fighter wing, colonel ron buckley who said of his air men, "i'm
incredibly proud of the professionalism and dedication our gunfighters displayed while flawlessly executing their mission to deliver precise combat air power for joint operations on the ground. from air crews to maintainers to support the t-bolts carried on the incredible legacy of the gunfighters in answer to our nation's call." i also want to importantly take this opportunity to honor america's unsung heroes by recognizing and commending the families and loved ones of those who serve in the 389th. we are also proud of their service and their commitment and their immense sacrifices they made and continue to make on behalf of our country. the t-bolts served honorably in the defense of a grateful nation and i am pleased today to recognize the heroic members of the 389th for their valorous
service while deployed in support of operation enduring freedom. i'm reminded of the core values of the air force -- integrity first, service before self, and excellence in all you do. there is no better example than the airmen of the 389th expeditionary fighter squadron. with consummate bravery and boldness, the t-bolts honor every american with a sense of duty to defend a cause larger than oneself. for their efforts, we and future generations are forever indebted and eternally grateful. madam president, i yield the floor and suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
the presiding officer: the senator from oklahoma is recognized. mr. inhofe: i ask unanimous consent the quorum call in process be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. inhofe: madam president, i apologize to the chair. i had a misunderstanding of where we were and i only wanted to try to get the point across which i think i failed to do, that the cost of these regulations, and i think i use as the example of the five and i mentioned actually six when you consider hydraulic fracturing also as one of the -- one of the regulations, that by far the one that is the most expensive is the regulation that is -- is the regulations that would be for the greenhouse gases. and i think since we pretty much established the cost of what it would cost to do a cap-and-trade bill with a -- with legislation and the range being from
$300 billion to $400 billion and the quotes i used which i won't repeat now from the director jackson and senator kerry and others that doing it through regulation would be far more expensive, i think that it's -- we need to be looking at it in terms of about $400 billion a year. this is a tax on the american people. this is the cost to our g.d.p. and it's something -- i remember back in 1993 when we had the clinton-gore tax increase, the largest one in five -- four decades at that time, it was an increase in the death tax, an increase in marginal rates, an increase in capital gains, it increased almost all taxes. and it was a $30 billion tax increase. now what we're talking about here is a tax increase that is ten times that great. ten times. we're using the figure now of $400 billion because we know through regulation it's going to cost more. now, again, and i go back and
i would repeat the quote we had from director jackson of the -- of the e.p.a., who said in response to my question, live in our committee, i said if we were to pass at that time i think it was the waxman-markey bill, it doesn't matter, cap-and-trade is cap-and-trade. if we're going to pass that, would that reduce overall east timor missions and she said no, it would only apply to the united states. i what carry it one step further. if we pass anything or do anything through regulation here, all it's going to do is take our manufacturing base to go out and try to find energy necessary to -- to operate and where do they go, they go 0 to places like china and and india and mexico, places that have almost no emissions standards so if there is a pollution problem it becomes greater, not less in terms of overall emissions. the second thing i would often have quoted, administrator
jackson was right before the copenhagen united nations event where they're going to try to convince the rest of the world we'll pass legislation that will be cap-and-trade and oppose this tax on the american people, before i left for copenhagen, i sat in a committee hearing, i said to administrator jackson, you'll have an endangerment finding and sure enough that's what happened. when you have an endangerment finding it has to be base basted on science, what science would you be using, she said by and large the science developed by the united nations intergovernmental panel on climate change. so since that -- ironically right after that, the climategate came up and really took -- destroyed the -- the legitimacy of the ipcc. and i read some of the quotes for -- that were given by different people when they
talked about climategate. a british writer, george monboy, known for environmental and political activism, he's on the other side of this thing, he writes a weekly column for the guardian. he said pretending it isn't a real crisis isn't going to make it go away. he's referring to climategate, the fact they were cooking the science. nor is an attempt to justify the wrench yemp mails and technicalities. again talking about the participants in ipcc. we'll be able to get past this only by grasping reality, apologizing where appropriate and demonstratingthat it cannot happen again. again, i mentioned the daily telegraph in the u.k., it could be the greatest scandal in modern science, and atlantic magazine said, quote, the closed mindedness of these supposed men of science, their willingness to go to any lengths
is surprising even to me. the stink of intellectual corruption is overpowering. that was the -- that was the loss of credibility of the whole idea of the -- of -- of the science that was put together by the intergovernmental panel on claimant change at the united nations. but to make it even worse, we requested that the i.g., the inspector general, do a study and report back as to the science and how the science was developed by the ipcc and whether or not it followed the guidelines that were necessary and they came back just a week ago with a report that says that e.p.a. has failed to follow the responsible guidelines, in fact even before the scope of the study was finalized today, the e.p.a. was already collecting data samples at the unclosed fracking sites. they're going in to use the same type of flawed science and going after other parts of their
agenda, in this case it would be hydraulic fracturing which i mentioned is an attempt to stop our ability to develop our own resources. so in the course of this overregulation, i think that we have to keep in mind and to keep talking about the six greatest and most costly regulatory problems that we have out there and how much it's going to cost the american people. and, again, the -- the one that is -- is the most serious right now is trying to regulate and do a cap-and-trade through regulations as opposed to doing it through legislation. so we're going to keep talking about that, madam president. it's not going to go away. people think, you know, time will make people forget but you don't forget something of that magnitude. i did a calculation in my state of oklahoma, as i always do. i get the number of families that file a tax return each ye year. and when something comes along that's going to cost something, i -- i do the calculation, i do the math and i go back to the american people and say, get
ready, this is what it's going to cost you. if we were to have passed any of the bills that were like the kyoto protocol and the last one accident the waxman-markey bill, the cost would have been at least $300 billion. if you take that annual cost, that would cost my tax-paying families in oklahoma in excess of $3,000 a family and you get nothing for it. so we can do an awful lot of talk about the -- the deficits and the spending of this administration. let's don't overlook perhaps the most expensive thing for the american people, that is the overregulation that makes us noncompetitive with the rest of the world. with that,, i yield the floor -- with that, i yield the floor. i yield the floor. mr. reed: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from rhode island is recognized. mr. reed: thank you, madam president. madam president, i rise today to pay tribute to john hardimann,
the public defender for the state of rhode island, who passed away several days ago. john was the -- frankly, the finest public servant i have ever seen in my entire career. as a soldier, as a elected official, i have never encountered anyone with the dedication, the decency and determination of john hardimann. he literally devoted his life to the office of public defender in the state of rhode island. he graduated from law school in 1982. he started as a staff attorney there, worked his way up to head of the trial division, then became the public defender for the entire state of rhode island. his wife -- his life was devoted to the law. quietly, persistently, with diligence, dedication and decency, he sought to do justi justice. indeed, justice not for the powerful or privileged but for the powerless. indeed, in many cases, his
clients were not only flow to her yus, they were in-- notorious, they were infamous. but john knew that the test of our ideals, the test of our legal system, of our constitutional form of government was that the laws would not simply protect the powerful and privileged but they protect all americans. above the entrance to the united states supreme court are the words "equal justice under law." for many people, even lawyers, those are just words. for john hardimann, it was his life's vocation and he made real those words in the lives of every rhode islander. john was a tenacious advocate but he was always a remarkably modest and decent man. his legal skills rested on a foundation of unimpeachable integrity and decency. he dedicated his life to serving
others. in that add vocation and very -- in that advocation and vocation, he was following the example of his father, dr. james hardimann, and his mother. they left john a shining example of compassion and concern, a generous spirit, and a humble heart. and all of his brothers and sisters follow that same example as they, too, in their lives served others. now, i had the privilege of growing up with john. he was one of the little kids in school, about five years younger, but he always had the reputation, entirely justified, of being a good kid. and where i come from, being a good kid was the highest form of praise. and that good kid turned out to be an extraordinary man, advocate, public servant. and this is a poignant moment for me because i recall the many
times i saw him throughout his life and my life. as a young student in grammar school, as an athlete like his brothers, as a lawyer, as a public defender, as a public servant. he was someone who you were always glad to see, and those types of individuals are rare and precious, indeed. now, john's passing diminishes all of us, especially his fami family. but his life has touched the lives of every rhode islander. many will never recognize what he has done, but standing up for justice and for the rule of law and for the rights of those who are in the shadows, he stood up for all of us nobly, decently, with a proud spirit but a gentle spirit also. now, we've all been diminished
but what he's done for us is made us stronger and better and more ready to go on, to take up his work. and his example will sustain us and inspire us as we go forward. as we try to finish his noble work. now, i want to especially extend my condolences to his children, elizabeth and emmitt, and to all his family. rhode island has lost an extraordinary public servant, an extraordinary gentleman, but we are better for having known him, we're better for having him served us so well, so courageously, so decently. and with that, madam president, i would yield the floor.
recognized. mr. sanders: madam president, i ask that the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. sanders: thank you, madam president. madam president, there has been a lot of discussion here in the senate, in the house, and in the media about what the supercommittee is doing and what they should be doing. and the american people understand that the responsibilities that they have
in terms of trying to reduce our national debt and our deficit is difficult, and i wish them the best of luck in coming up with a solution. my hope, simply stated, is that the supercommittee will do what the american people want them to do. and the american people, in demonstrations all over this country and in poll after 'after poll have made it pretty clear what they want to see happen. the american people are becoming more and more aware that there's something very wrong in this country when we have the most unequal distribution of income and wealth of any major country on earth, when the top 1% earns
more income than the bottom 50%, when in a recent 25-year period 80% of all new income went to the top 1%, and when the gap between the very rich and everybody else is wider today than it has ever been since 19 1928, the year before the great depression. and if you think distribution of income in this country is unfair, then you should take a look at distribution of wealth, which is much more unfair. madam president, today the wealthiest 400 americans own more wealth than the bottom half -- half of america -- 150 million people. 400 people -- 150 million
americans. and that unbelievable inequality, in terms of wealth, is, in my view, not only morally wrong, it is very bad economics, and it is not sustainable. so when the supercommittee deliberates as to where they should go, i think one direction is very clear, and the american people of all political spectr spectrums have made their point of view very strongly on this issue. whether you are a democrat, an independent, or a republican, what poll after poll after poll shows is that when the wealthiest people in this country are becoming wealthier, when, as warren buffett reminds us, their effective, i.e., real tax rate, is the lowest that it has been in decades, yes, the
wealthiest people in this country are going to have to pay more in taxes to enable us to go forward on deficit reduction. so any serious plan brought forth by the supercommittee must ask the wealthiest people in this country to pay more in taxes. furthermore, as i think everybody knows, we have corporation after corporation that benefits from huge tax loopholes. a study just came out today, one out of four major corporations pay nothing in taxes. there are examples that recently major corporations make billions of dollars in profit and not only pay nothing in taxes, get rebates from the i.r.s. many of these corporations stash their profits in tax havens in the cayman islands and elsewhere
to avoid u.s. taxes. and i think the american people are very clear that if we are going to go forward with deficit reduction, that large corporations are also going to have to start paying their fair share of taxes. and this is across the political spectrum. so i hope that the supercommittee is hearing and understands that any agreement must contain significant revenue from the wealthiest people in this country and from the largest corporations. furthermore, at a time when military spending has tripled since 1997, i hope, as part of their agreement, that the subcommittee takes a hard look at our defense budget and asks whether it is really necessary that the united states of america spend more on defense
than the entire rest of the world combined. so those are some of the areas that i hope the supercommittee will explore. asking the wealthy to start paying their fair share of taxes, ending tax loopholes for large corporations, and taking a hard look at military spending, which has tripled since 1997. but then, madam president, there is another area that the supercommittee must also look at. and that is to understand that in the midst of the worst recession since the great depression, a recession caused by the greed and recklessness and illegal behavior on wall street, that the supercommittee must not -- must not, must not -- cut social security, cut
medicare, or cut medicaid. social security is the most successful federal program in the history of our country. it has a $2.5 trillion surplus, can pay out all benefits for the next 25 years. and because it's funded by the payroll tax, has not contributed one nickel to our deficit. the supercommittee must not cut social security. madam president, 50 million americans today have no health insurance, and many others are underinsured. according to a study at harvard university, 45,000 americans die each year because they don't get to the doctor when they should. under those conditions, it would be immoral, it would be wrong for the supercommittee to